Last Day Fly Fishing the Kootenai River

by | Apr 20, 2020 | Kootenai Angler | 5 comments

Kootenai-AnglerIts our last day here at Dave Blackburn’s Kootenai Angler.  Its been a true blast hanging with Dave and his wife Tammy.  Dave had a long list of things we had to do while here and we’ve done many.  But until this morning we had not yet experienced Dave’s homemade buckwheat huckleberry pancakes.  Well, check that off this list and they were delicious!


Kootenai-RiverAfter the big brekky it was the usual chill out for a couple hours till it warmed up.  I worked on my blog and caught up on some emails.  Then at around noon we headed out to float a stretch of the Kootenai down by Troy, MT.


Currier-Blackburn-fishingGranny launched a few casts early on and felt some soreness from making her first casts in a year yesterday.  She says its nothing to worry about.  This meant Dave and I went to work. Being the last day I made sure not to miss a spot with my double streamer rig and came out of the gates hot to trot.  I caught at least a few rainbows from every pool.  Some were really nice ones like this guy here all colored up likely getting ready to spawn soon.


big-troutThe one fish we haven’t caught all week is a Westslope cutthroat.  I found this peculiar but perhaps the water where we’ve been fishing upstream is too cold.  No doubt down here was much warmer.  Sure enough today we caught a few.


Westslope-cutthroatThe Westslope cutts are a different species than what we get at home.  Granny and I always enjoy catching them when in northern Montana.  These guys have a much different spot pattern along the back and some pinks our cutts don’t have.  I’ve painted a few for folks over the years and always enjoy them.


rainbow-troutThe fishing stayed on fire the entire float with a nice mix of cutts and bows.  I could’ve fished dries as we occasionally found some risers but they looked like average size guys.  After the rainbow a few days ago that’s the type of fish I have on my mind.  I kept chucking my streamers.  I caught a few more nice ones colored up like the big one earlier.


Currier-MontanaTowards the end of the float Dave said we were approaching one of his best “big fish” pools.  Over the years he’s taken some huge fish including some weighty brown trout.  I knew he wasn’t kidding as he rowed us in with utmost caution holding the boat shallow and allowing me to cast out to a gorgeous looking drop-off.


On the first cast I hooked up.  It was as I was doing the “hang”, raising my rod to both lift my fly up the drop-off so it didn’t snag but also to see my flies to see if any fish were following.  The view was good enough that I could see a solid fish grab my bottom streamer and by the color and flash, I suspected it was a bull trout.



It indeed was a bull trout and a heavy one too.  He didn’t make any kind of run at first.  It was more like I hooked into a big fish that didn’t want to be moved.  Then he started with the wallowing headshakes.  I bent my rod deep and stayed tight to my fish.  It’s a must maneuver that keeps the fish on regardless of the barbless hook.


After a few seconds of tug-o-war the bull took off.  He threatened to enter the heavy current of the main river but luckily I kept him in his pool.  As I always say, it pays to fish straight 0X SA flouro!


Jeff-Currier-bull-troutI mentioned it a few times this week, bull trout are protected in Montana and you are not allowed to target them.  Nonetheless, if you streamer fish you’re going to get the occasional one.  My goal was to land him as quick as possible and with my 6-weight Air and the heavy leader I was able too.  The quicker you get them in the stronger they are when you release them.


The bull was an impressive 27”.  He was a little thin but that’s typical of many big fish in the spring.  Winter takes its toll but I suspect in only a month this fish will start to gain back the weight.  Granny clicked off a few nice pics before the handsome char bolted from my hands back to his deep pool.


fish-artIts been quite an enjoyable week up here with Dave and Tammy. Throughout the week I’ve been planning to break out my Sharpies.  Dave likes my fish Sharpie art and I’ve decorated some of his banjos over the years.  Well, tonight seemed like a good night to draw a bull trout.  I think she came out nice!


Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing


  1. Steve Waller

    Hey Jeff, I really enjoyed these posts on your trip to the Flathead, it’s an amazing area. I’m from Billings so I don’t get up there as often as I’d like.
    Thanks for the posts!

  2. Steve Waller

    Hey Jeff, I really enjoyed these posts on your trip to the Flathead, it’s an amazing area. I’m from Billings so I don’t get up there as often as I’d like.
    Thanks for the updates!

  3. Jeff

    Thanks very much Steve. Glad you are still tuning in! And yes, it had been a while since I was up there and it reminded me I need to get up there more.

  4. Lance

    Enjoyed this weeks blog. You convinced me to add Kootenai Anglers as a “to do” trip on the travel log. What a beautiful river, variety of fish and a great place to relax. Thanks Jeff

  5. Jeff

    Lance, yes you need to get up there. What a place and so much fun with Dave. Dave is easy to find at the Denver Show. He has a booth and he plays the banjo for lunches and at the movie. Track him down and make it happen!

Welcome to the Blog of Jeff Currier!

Contact Jeff

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!