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Fly Fishing the Smith River in Montana

Smith River summary

Smith River is a fly fishing location in Montana. This destination has an elevation of approximately 4604 feet. Please view the pinpointed location for Smith River on the Google Map to the right. If you'd like directions to this destination, please click here for directions (provided via Google Maps).

Smith River reports

CrossCurrents Flyshop (CrossCurrents) reported - 2 - Good fly fishing: The river dropped a good bit the last couple of days improving the fishing. Mostly subsurface action. The river is going to blow big time by Sunday or Monday at which point it won't be very good until it cools back down and the river subsides. (04/17/09)
CrossCurrents Flyshop (CrossCurrents) reported - 4 - Poor fly fishing: An early run-off episode is currently happening on the Smith. The flow went from ice four days ago to over 425 today. That's floatable for those that have a super early permit and want to freeze their rear-ends off floating muddy water. Give us a call or stop by our website (www.crosscurrents.com )if you have a Smith permit this year. We are the Smith River experts and can help you out with any aspect of your trip. (03/23/09)
CrossCurrents Flyshop (CrossCurrents) reported - 4 - Poor fly fishing: Still in winter mode on the Smith but the ice has melted off the flow guage so we should be only weeks away from floating and fishing time. Though those early trips can be a gamble with the weather. Check out our extensive information on the Smith River at www.crosscurrents.com (03/20/09)
CrossCurrents Flyshop (CrossCurrents) reported - 4 - Poor fly fishing: The Smith is still a big chunk of ice! The Float Permits have been issued by FWP. If you are one of the lucky recipients of a permit please stop by our shop or website (crosscurrents.com) for info on the Smith and our Boat & Equipment Rentals, maps, and our popular, Smith River Checklist. (03/12/09)
Sam Wike (loop) reported - 3 - Fair fly fishing: don't attept to float just yet...portions are completely froze over...don't want to be caught draggin the raft for a week! (12/30/08)
Sam Wike (loop) reported - 2 - Good fly fishing:

If you can get access you are going to catch a lot of browns, they are taking streamer patterns and flashy nymph patterns like they are going out of style this time of year. 

Elk huntings been very good as well, with many landowners saying they've taken some big bulls already this year, go get your hunting out of the way so you don't miss the fall fishing season on the Missouri.

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Smith River descriptions

CrossCurrents Flyshop (CrossCurrents) wrote - Sixty remote miles of meandering liquid and rock heaven on earth!

The Smith River is the ultimate floating/fishing/camping river in Montana and possibly one of the best the country. Most of this ~60 mile wilderness-like float is through a beautiful limestone canyon whose walls sometimes rise straight up from the river to 1000 feet overhead! Due to the limited number of areas to camp, Montana FWP issues only a few float permits per day, which one must apply for months in advance and your chance is less then 30% in receiving a private launch permit. (The trip is well worth the slim chances!)

The Smith has a short float season, usually from May through mid July. This can vary a few weeks either way depending on snow pack, rain, irrigation and timing of runoff. A classic western freestone stream, this is generally a big fly river. We fish lots of stoneflies and big attractor patterns like PMX’s, Stimulators, Jacklin’s Giant Stones & Hoppers. There are good caddis and mayfly hatches as well and we will “match the hatch” during those times but a #8 Royal PMX is tough to beat. Large streamers like Bead-head Woolly Buggers and Flash-Fry Zonkers will pull the bigger Browns and Rainbows from the deeper pools and undercut banks.

Pictographs and caves are another feature to the river which adds to the Smith experience. Some pictographs date back thousands of years.

The fishing can be a bit unpredictable due to the water flow and weather but overall the fishing on the Smith is good to excellent. However, if you float the Smith simply to rack up a body count of trout, you may be disappointed and miss out on the whole experience that is the Smith River -stunning scenery, great camp sites, camaraderie, wildlife, NO phones, faxes, e-mails and a day to day pace that's no faster than the river flow! Montana is fortunate to have a river as special as the Smith.
-crosscurrents.com (03/12/09)
Andy Idema (aidema) wrote - The Smith River is an excellent fly fishing destination for catching both brown trout and rainbow trout. The river holds a bounty of trout between 13 and 16 inches which are eager to take a fly. (08/07/08)
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Smith River businesses

Shop Guide Service Lodge School (Classes) Travel Rods Manufacturer
311 Bridge Street
Craig, Montana
Montana Angler Fly Fishing Guides
76 Lucille Lane
Bozeman, Montana
311 Bridge St.
Craig, Montana
Guide Service Montana Fishing Outfitters
716 N. Warren
Helena, Montana
Guide Service mike agee
2010 8th ave
Helena, Montana
Other Montana River Outfitters
515 Recreation Rd
Wolf Creek, Montana
Osprey Oufitters Guide Service & Fly Shop
1963 North 1st Street
Hamilton, Montana
326 N. Jackson St.
Helena, Montana
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Nearby destinations

Missouri River, Montana 35 miles away | Rating: 5
No Tellum, Montana 38 miles away

Nearby cities

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Townsend, Montana 18 miles away
Monarch, Montana 24 miles away
Neihart, Montana 27 miles away
East Helena, Montana 31 miles away
Winston, Montana 33 miles away
Stockett, Montana 33 miles away
Martinsdale, Montana 35 miles away
Ringling, Montana 37 miles away
Cascade, Montana 37 miles away

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