David Blackburn’s Kootenai Angler Montana

by | Apr 17, 2020 | Kootenai River | 4 comments

Granny-CurrierIt was a wild few days at home this week.  The WorldCast Anglers online presentation I gave last week generated a ton of Cliff Fly Box art orders.  Since Saturday afternoon I did 25 of them!  Toss in my online Yellow Dog presentation, the usual projects like the blog, updates in social media and general things around the house, by yesterday afternoon I was ready to hit the road again and take a break.


fish-idahoWe know the “Stay at Home Order” continues to be in effect.  But with neighbors 50 feet away on three sides of the house and a street that seems to be a favorite for families to stroll up and down, we feel that social distancing in the field is plenty safe.  After a morning of raking and tearing up a runaway rose bush, Granny and I packed the Explorer and headed north and west.  I’m curious if any readers recognize this bizarre Idaho landmark bar we passed?




After four hours of driving through one of the remoter parts of Idaho, Granny and I crossed into Montana and camped in a random spot near the headwaters of the Bitterroot River.  We huddled around our fire and chowed on Granny’s homemade broccoli soup.  Regardless of the big meal, it was the coldest night of camping in years.  It was 11° when I brewed up the coffee this morning.  Needless to say we didn’t sit around in our Yeti chairs to drink it.  We cranked up the car heat and continued our drive north.


Dave-BlackburnOur destination was David Blackburn’s Kootenai Angler in Libby, Montana.  Dave and I have been friends since we met at the Jackson Hole One Fly Contest in 1990.  All these years as friends we’ve hardly been on the water together.  This is mainly due to my years of international travel and that the Kootenai River is a 9 hour drive from Victor, Idaho.  But two weeks ago Dave contacted me, “Currier, I know your grounded.  I have a big boat so if I row you and Granny down the Kootenai you’ll be 6 feet away from me and after fishing you guys will have your own log cabin overlooking the river.  This is probably the only time we’ll get to do this.  Distancing at its best.  No excuses.  Come on up!”


Kootenai-AnglerDave has been trying to get Granny and I up to visit him and fish these hardly known waters for years.  And no doubt, I’ve hankered to go there.  I’m excited to say that shortly after 3 today Granny and I arrived at Dave’s and his wife Tammy’s and moved into our cabin.


While Granny opted to chill out on the porch and enjoy the afternoon sun (it was 55°), Dave and I launched his boat above Fisher River.  You can’t fish until you hit the Highway 37 bridge because it’s near the dam and fish spawn here, so we drank a beer and caught up as we drifted.  Once we got to open fishing waters I went to work hunting big rainbows with my double streamer rig.


Kootenai-Angler-LodgeWe didn’t have much time being it was about 4:30 when I made my first cast so we took on a short piece of water.  Remarkably most of this water goes along Dave’s amazing piece of waterfront property.  We waved to Granny as we floated by our cabin.


bull-troutAs for the fishing, it was tough.  But keep in mind, most trout fishing is tough out west in the spring.  High water from melting snow muds up most rivers.  Tailwaters, which is what the Kootenai River is, remain mostly clear but the water temperature today was 42°.  Rainbows don’t exactly feed hard in such cold conditions.  Nonetheless I stuck a couple but they were small.  It was this surprise bull trout that was the highlight.


Jeff-Currier-bull-troutThough a common fish species on the Kootenai River, bull trout are 100% protected in Montana.  Dave rattled off a few photos of this lesser known char then we released the beauty unharmed.  Though I’ve caught bulls before I don’t see them often.  I took a mighty good look at him.  Who knows, I might have to draw one up this week for Dave.  Dave’s a great banjo player and I’ve done up a few of my fish art Sharpie drawings on his banjos in the past.


Kootenai-RiverGranny and I are settled in to our cabin for the night.  There’re horses grazing around the porch and the birds are singing.  It couldn’t be any better.  Now’s time for a good sleep.  Dave’s ready to show us more of this gorgeous river tomorrow.


Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing


  1. Brendan

    I recognize the landmark as the riddled owl near in salmon idaho

  2. Ysursa

    I recognize the landmark as the riddled owl near in salmon idaho

  3. Jeff

    You guys are correct. Its been 25 years but I sure had some fun at that place!

  4. Brendan

    Oops I did not mean to send it twice I had a problem commenting it said that I “had all ready said it” so I sent it again but under my last name sorry

Welcome to the Blog of Jeff Currier!

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I started fly fishing at age 7 in the lakes and ponds of New England cutting my teeth on various sunfish, bass, crappie and stocked trout. I went to Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, where I graduated with a Naturalist Degree while I discovered new fishing opportunities for pike, muskellunge, walleyes and various salmonids found in Lake Superior and its tributaries.

From there I headed west to work a few years in the Yellowstone region to simply work as much as most people fish and fish as much as most people work. I did just that, only it lasted over 20 years working at the Jack Dennis Fly Shop in Jackson, WY where I departed in 2009. Now it’s time to work for "The Man", working for myself that is.

I pursue my love to paint fish, lecture on every aspect of fly fishing you can imagine and host a few trips to some of the most exotic places you can think of. My ultimate goal is to catch as many species of fish on fly possible from freshwater to saltwater, throughout the world. I presently have taken over 440 species from over 60 countries!

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