Outdoors blog

Smith River applications coming due

Fly fishers cast for brown trout along the stained rock-garden limestone cliffs that border central Montana's Smith River where special permits are required to float a 59-mile scenic stretch. (Rich Landers)
Fly fishers cast for brown trout along the stained rock-garden limestone cliffs that border central Montana's Smith River where special permits are required to float a 59-mile scenic stretch. (Rich Landers)

RIVERS -- Floaters and anglers have until Feb. 15 to apply for the coveted permits to float Montana's Smith River.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Department holds a lottery to issue permits required to float the 59-mile section of river south of Great Falls between Camp Baker and Eden Bridge. 

            Applicants can apply for a Smith River permit online through FWP’s automated licensing system, use a paper application available at fwp.mt.gov, or apply in person at any FWP regional office.

            Read on for a summary of changes in the application process.

  • Applicants will pay a $10 nonrefundable permit application fee.  Those who receive a permit will pay their float fees at Camp Baker prior to launch. 
  • Results of the permit drawing will be posted on the FWP web site Feb. 22.
  • Successful applicants will receive a permit and information packet in the mail. Unsuccessful applicants will no longer be contacted via mail.  
  • Permit applicants must be a minimum of twelve years of age at the time of application. Children under 12 will still be allowed to float the Smith River. 
  • Those who draw a permit through the lottery for a peak season launch date May 15 through July 15 must wait a year before applying again to float during that time frame. These floaters may still apply for launch dates outside of the peak season, join other permitted trips, or acquire cancelled permits. 

            Click here for more on Smith River State Park and River Corridor, or call (406) 454-5840.




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

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