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Road Trips

Smith River, Montana Float Trip

Smith River float trip, Montana July, 2020 in 4K
Watch this video on YouTube.

Jacob was lucky to be invited to go floating down Smith River, Montana. The Smith River is one of the most sought after Montana rafting trips. It features 59 miles of some of the most beautiful Montana landscape. Starting at Camp Baker and ending at Eden Bridge.

Floating the Smith river was amazing. We saw Bald Eagles, Golden Eagles, Deer, Bear, Ducks, Geese, and various birds. Fishing wasn’t the best because the water was a little muddy. Jacob did catch a couple of brown trout. (Catch and release)

What made the trip special was the company. Most of the people on the trip have floated the Smith many times. They were all so very kind and worked well as a team. I can’t imagine the trip going any better than it did. It truly was an amazing experience that will last a lifetime.

What to bring

If you are interested in floating the Smith I highly recommend you do your research. The Smith is by permit only and you need to be prepared. It’s a four-day float with camping. I recommend you bring warm clothes in case it gets cold. Shorts and a t-shirt in case it gets warm. Sunscreen and a brimmed hat help. Don’t forget to bring your sunglasses. Bug spray is also a plus as the bugs at some camps can be out for blood. Bring rain gear and have it handy. Dry bags are a must! If you don’t have dry bags you can pick them up almost anywhere.

Bring plenty of snacks, food, water, and good river shoes. If fishing, I recommend you crush the barbs on your hooks and make sure you have a fishing permit. Jacob caught his two fish on spinner lures. But many people choose to use flies and fly fish.

Optional things to bring is some stiff drinks, a book or two, maybe some music like a guitar. If you want to take pictures don’t forget to bring an extra power source such as a solar charger or USB battery.

Tent up first

Be prepared to get very good at setting up your tent and unpacking and packing your gear. Pro-tip: The moment you land at the camp set up your tent before doing anything else. This way if it starts raining you will have shelter. Sometimes the rain only lasts for a few moments.

Drones not allowed

If you want to film on Smith River keep in mind that Drones are prohibited without a special use permit. Make sure if you want to film the Smith River you have gone through the correct process to do so. Also, keep in mind that it takes a few days to get a special use permit to use a drone. It also doesn’t mean you will be guaranteed to use one. Do your research much in advance and follow the rules.

Permits are hard to get

If you are unable to get a permit you can always hire an outfitter to take you down the Smith. However, it can be a little more expensive than you might expect. From what I have been told the average price to float the smith with an outfitter is $4,000-5000. With a tip to the staff on average about 10%-20%. This means if you want to float the Smith with an outfitter expect to pay about $4,500-$5,500 per person.

If you want to float the Smith or learn more check out the below links:

http://stateparks.mt.gov/smith-river/

http://stateparks.mt.gov/smith-river/smithRiverFAQ.html

http://www.smithriverflyfishing.com

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