Montana's Smith River is one of the West's legendary fly fishing trips and is on the bucket list of many anglers world wide. The river winds through a remote 60 mile corridor that is dominated by dense forests and rugged limestone canyon walls. The section of the river we target can only be accessed by boat and is strictly regulated by Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks and the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest which limit launches to ensure the pristine beauty of the canyon is not overrun. The float trip is comprised of towering limestone cliffs and heavily timbered forests broken only by a few small clusters of cabins on private land.
The river is home to a wild population of hungry trout that see relatively low fishing pressure. Fish up to 20 inches are frequently encountered. Despite the high quality of the trout fishery, the fishing often takes a back seat to the amazing beauty of the river and the enjoyment of spending several days camping at truly amazing remote riverside campsites.
Our Smith river fly fishing guides are specialists at their craft and are just as proficient at Dutch oven cooking as they are at selecting the right fly for the day. You will be amazed at the level of comfort and the quality of the dining that you will experience.
When to fish the Smith
We target the Smith River at periods of higher flows. The typical Smith River season is May, June and July. Often late September and October can provide great fishing on the Smith River.
Getting to the River
If your plan is to fly to Montana on a commercial airline we recommend that you make reservations as soon as possible once you have firm river dates. Our preference is that you fly open jaw with arrival into Bozeman and out of Helena. This generally does not cost any more than flying round trip to Bozeman or round trip to Helena.
On the last day of the trip we usually plan to get off the river between 1 and 3 in the afternoon. Once off the river at the Eden Bridge take-out, we are 1 hour from Great Falls, 2 hours from Helena, and about 3 hours from Bozeman. Unless you are driving your own vehicle, we generally book a room in Helena for the final night at the Great Northern Best Western close to good restaurants and brew pubs. There is also a free airport shuttle from the hotel to get to the Helena airport the next day. If you have your own vehicle we can have it shuttled to the take out for an extra cost.
Arrival day: fly into Bozeman, shuttle to hotel - have dinner in town at a local restaurant (arrival dinner not included)
Day 1 of fishing: Launch day - drive to put in, launch just after 9am - guided fishing - camping
Day 2: fishing and camping
Day 3: fishing and camping
Day 4: fishing and camping
Day 5: fishing - take out early afternoon - drive to Helena Great Northern Hotel
Day 6: take hotel shuttle to airport - fly home
The Camping and Food
Camping is at remote sites along the river corridor. While you are fishing on the river, up to three gear rafts will row ahead of the anglers to set camp up. The camping is elaborate and comfortable and the food is both abundant and delicious. Time slows down on the river and you will quickly fall in love with the easy pace and gorgeous surroundings. All food and beverages are provided on the trip.
What is included?
Nearly everything but your fishing license and guide gratuities. We'll take care of flies, loaner rods, camping gear, food, and even your lodging the night before the launch date. You are responsible for guide gratuities and your fishing license. We often book your final lodging night at added cost in Helena if needed.
What is not included?
Fishing licenses ($73.50), wader rentals (we can provide for $140 per person), final night lodging cost.
Five day/ Five night trip: 2023 Rates $5300/Person (add $2000 for anglers with single 1:1 guide ratio)
Smith River trips are conducted on the Helena-Lewis & Clark National Forest.
Montana Angler Fly Fishing is an equal opportunity provider.