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The northwest corner of Montana is far less traveled (and less fished) than the rest of the state - a rugged and remote region that is home to mile upon mile of productive, un crowded trout water. It is also home to Linehan Outfitting Company, hands-down one of the best-run guide and outfitting operations in the region. In business since 1992, Tim Linehan has Montana Guide of the Year and Orvis Outfitter of the Year and Guide Conservationist of the Year awards to his name, and both he and his wife Joanne have been recognized for their numerous accomplishments throughout the fly fishing industry. Aside from their “home waters” of the Kootenai River, they also offer trips on the Clark Fork and a number of other waters throughout the area. Multi-day trips can include lodging packages on the Yaak River and at the Kootenai River Lodge, located near Libby, Montana.
Trips of any length can be arranged.
Yaak Valley Log Cabins
Linehan Outfitters has three handcrafted log cabins located in Yaak, Montana on a mountainside close to the Yaak River and one hour from the Kootenai River. Each cabin has a queen bedroom, sleeping loft with two twin beds, one bathroom, a full kitchen, and a gas grill on the porch. Each cabin is well equipped so all you need to bring are groceries and personal items.
Kootenai River Lodge
The second lodging option is the Kootenai River Lodge. Located on the banks of the Kootenai River in Libby, Montana, this four-bedroom/two bath spacious home is very privately situated on 8 acres. The River Lodge is well equipped so, once again, all you need to bring are groceries and personal items. It is an ideal getaway option for groups of all types and on-site chef services are easily arranged for parties of 4 or more.
While staying with Linehan Outfitters you will enjoy the finest in Western Montana Cuisine.
When most people think about fly fishing in Montana, they picture the dry landscapes and wide open vistas of the southern part of the state. Let us tell you about another Montana, a place of lush forests, rushing rivers and wild trout; a Montana that few people really know about, and even fewer visit. That's the Montana that Linehan Outfitting Company calls home. Many of the rivers that Linehan Outfitting Company fishes are unknown names to the legions of fly fisherman who travel out West in search of great trout water. These local waters hold wild cutthroat, rainbow, brook or brown trout, and provide a first-rate fishing experience. No crowds are the rule here, and some days you might not see another person.
Linehan Outfitters offers an amazing variety of fishing from big, brawling rivers to small intimate creeks and even some lakes and ponds. One day may find you floating the mighty Kootenai, casting to hard-fighting, rising rainbows, while the next you're stalking wild cutthroats on a local tributary, with a deer watching over your shoulder as you cast. We also fish other, better known rivers like the Clark Fork. Options are the name of the game with these fly fishing packages. While these guides spend most of their time on their home water, the Kootenai River, they also offer guided trips on the Clark Fork River, small streams, lakes, and ponds.
The Kootenai is one of the great undiscovered rivers of America. Located in the extreme, northwest corner of Montana, it is well off the radar screen for most fly fishermen. And that's just fine with this operation! The Kootenai is a large tailwater river, whose best runs are easily accessed by drift boat. Once there, you may choose to fish from the boat or get out and wade one of the many mid-stream islands or riffles. The target here is primarily rainbows ranging from 12-16 inches in length, with the opportunity to catch larger fish each day. The Libby Dam provides consistent, steady water flows and temperatures throughout the lengthy mid-June through mid-November season. Four, five, and six weights rods with floating lines will do the trick. Because of the location west of the nearby Continental Divide, this is a destination that generally does not get much wind. Kootenai rainbows are wild and the native redband strain are known to be some of the hardest fighting trout in the state, so be prepared!
The Clark Fork
Montana's largest river by water volume, the Clark Fork flows northwesterly through the state on its journey to the sea. Because of its size and geography, this river is best fished from a drift boat, although there are some wadable areas. March through May can be outstanding if water levels are good with excellent hatches, especially the skwala stonefly. This hatch can create some good dry fly action and great nymphing. The area around St. Regis regularly produces rainbows, cutthroats and cuttbows in the 12-20" range with some larger fish as well. The regular season starts in July, after run off, and continues into November.
Small Streams, Lakes, and Ponds
Linehan Outfitters also offers small stream opportunities on some of the Kootenai's tributaries as well. The tributaries are incredibly scenic and full of wild trout averaging 6"-10". Fishing the tributaries is more about fishing and less about catching lots of big fish. However, every year we're surprised by the occasional fish up to 18”. Most often we fish the tributaries with lighter rods like three and four weights and usually all you need is an attractor dry fly like a Royal Wulff or stimulator. Tributaries are most often wade trips and best fishing is early in the season from about mid-June to the middle of August. There are numerous lower elevation and alpine lakes and ponds in the area that also offer entertaining angling opportunities. Most of these lakes we fish from float tubes although we do occasionally use drift boats when accessible. The scenery and isolation of these alpine lakes is simply spectacular, and you may see all kinds of wildlife. Most waters are teeming with westslope cutthroat trout averaging 6"-10". Several of these lakes also offer opportunities for larger rainbows as well.
Float fishing on area rivers is done via McKenzie-style drift boats designed for fly fishing.
Linehan Outfitting Company also offers upland bird hunting opportunities for three species of wild mountain grouse (blue, ruffed, spruce). The grouse season opens September 1, but we prefer to wait until at least the middle of the month for our hunts when temperatures have started to cool. This is grouse hunting the way it's meant to be. While we enjoy hunting all three species, we spend most of our time chasing ruffed grouse. There's nothing more satisfying than watching a dog flush or point a ruffed grouse and making a clean shot just before it disappears into the darkest, thickest cover it can find. Access to covers is via logging roads and terrain is moderate. It's not uncommon on a good year to hunt hard all day and flush twenty or more birds. Over the years we have consistently averaged at least 2.0 flushes per hour and sometimes even more. As is the case with all upland hunting, solid, well-trained dogs add another dimension to the hunt. Personally we prefer flushing dogs and currently hunt golden retrievers. But pointers are great too and your dogs are welcome here at Linehan Outfitting Company.
The big game season begins in late October and runs through November. Our big game hunting takes place out the back door here in Yaak, Montana. While we have healthy populations of elk and mule deer, we concentrate on trophy whitetails. These deer are heavy, wild, and very active during the rut. We combine still- hunting and stand hunting and always incorporate some rattling and grunting as well. Logging roads provide access into the back country and from there we like to hunt on foot.
The three major airports servicing northwest Montana are Spokane, Washington; Kalispell, Montana; and Missoula, Montana.
Keep in mind that our log cabins are located in Yaak, Montana, and our Kootenai River House and Anglers hut are located in Libby, Montana. If you are heading to our Yaak log cabins, be certain to get your groceries before you head for the Yaak. That means either Bonners Ferry, Idaho; or Troy or Libby, Montana depending on which direction you're traveling.
All rates are per person and based on double occupancy. A trip of any length of stay can be arranged. Linehan Outfitters also offers hunting and "cast and blast" trips. For additional days or other custom packages, please call Yellow Dog for details.
|Length of Stay||
2 Per Boat
2 Per Room
|Yakk Valley Log Cabins - Fishing and Lodging|
|4 Nights / 3 Fishing Days||$1,075|
|5 Nights / 4 Fishing Days||$1,400|
|6 Nights / 5 Fishing Days||$1,725|
|Kootenai River Lodge - (Fishing and Lodging)|
|4 Nights / 3 Fishing Days||$1,475|
|5 Nights / 4 Fishing Days||$1,900|
|6 Nights / 5 Fishing Days||$2,325|
|Kootenai River Lodge - (Fishing, Lodging, and Meals)|
|4 Nights / 3 Fishing Days||$1,975|
|5 Nights / 4 Fishing Days||$2,525|
|6 Nights / 5 Fishing Days||$3,075|
Guided Day Trips -
Prices are based on 1 or 2 anglers
Full Day Trip ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- $450
Half Day Trip (4 hours) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- $350
* Remember that Yellow Dog's services are completely free! When you book a trip with Yellow Dog, you never pay more than when you book directly with the lodge or outfitter.
Yellow Dog has a full in-house travel and reservations system, and can assist with airline tickets, hotels, transfers, and all travel logistics for every destination that we offer. Contact us at 888-777-5060 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more details on airfare ticketing, travel services and trip insurance.
Locally, Tim Linehan serves as the Kootenai Valley Chapter President and on the Montana Trout Unlimited State Council. As the host of Trout Unlimited Television for 6 years, Tim educated millions of viewers to the challenges and opportunities of environmental stewardship. Tim annually hosts several Trout Unlimited trips to various locations around the country and is presently spearheading an effort to encourage more outfitters and guides to become involved in Trout Unlimited under the banner of the Outfitter, Guide, Business Program (OGB). Tim has been named both 1995 Montana Guide of the Year and 1998 Orvis Outfitter of the Year. Tim was recognized by Orvis as their 2006 Guide Conservationist of the Year.
Tim will also continue to be an ambassador for the organization and host Coldwater Conservation Fund (CCF) fishing trips at various locations East and West. The Coldwater Conservation Fund is a specific donor level and allows members to participate in fishing trips and to learn more about the science behind the TU projects their dollars are helping to fund around the country.