Kootenai River with Banjo Dave

There is a chunk of Montana that most anglers don’t really think of when the envision going “West.” It’s the far northwest of Big Sky country–the land that lies to the Pacific side of Glacier National Park. This wild and rugged area holds a special river, the Kootenai. It is in this wonderfully remote and wilderness land that Dave Blackburn has chosen to offer the fly fisher a truly great angling experience at his Kootenai Anglers Lodge. I’ll let Dave tell you about the river and its fish.

“The Kootenai River emerging from Libby Dam is Montana’s newest tailwater fishery. Cradled between the Cabinet Mountain Wilderness and the Purcell Mountains, it contains a wide array of insect life to support prolific hatches throughout the season.The Kootenai and its tributaries are the only waters in Montana to contain a native strain of rainbow trout, called Columbia Redbands. These trout are indigenous to the headwaters of the Columbia River. They are known for their excellent acrobatic fighting ability and their characteristic “football” shape. Fish are active year round with the controlled consistently cool flows from the Dam. Weed beds, riffles and long deep runs contain an array of aquatic insect life to support from 1500-2500 catchable trout per mile. The Kootenai fishery remains one of the western rivers that is virtually unaffected by drought and forest fires due to the deep, large reservoir which insures an endless, cool water supply.”

Dave’s lodge offers a large, high quality restaurant and full service fly shop, in addition to lodging in a variety of individual cabins and the “bunkhouse.” See it all at www.montana-flyfishing.com

But that’s not all! Twist Dave’s arm (just gently, please) and out pops his banjo. He’s a member of a couple of authentic bluegrass bands that perform regularly. You can watch him play and listen to the bands’ great sounds at

Sheldon Mtn Boys:www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynQEnJk4wh0

Meadow Blasters:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYSEXxwQ4k8

The Kootenai is a big river with many opportunities to locate feeding fish.

Anglers float the mighty Kootenai fishing from the boat or stopping to wade fish particularly fine runs.

The Kootenai is big water holding big fish. These are the Columbia Redbands and they fight long and hard.

The Meadow Blasters looking exactly like the cowboy bluegrass band that they are. Dave holds his banjo at the ready. Deliverance, anyone?

Banjo Dave with the Sheldon Mountain Boys. They can play up a real storm.


  1. Kathy says:

    Sounds like a great place to visit!