Superb fishing, gorgeous scenery, and a remote setting combine to make a trip on the Smith River an unforgettable experience. With one put-in point and one take-out point, the 59-mile stretch of river is accessible only by canoe, raft, or other appropriate watercraft.
Because of its popularity, the Smith River is alone among Montana rivers to require a permit to float the waterway. A drawing for the permit is conducted each February; nine float parties are allowed to put in on the river each day. These regulations moderate fishing pressure and allow for long floats in relative solitude.
The float season varies widely depending on snow pack, rainfall, and amount and timing of irrigation. The typical float season is from mid-April through July 4th, occassionally with some floating in September.
This river is mostly Class I with a few Class II rapids. There is no Class III at normal levels. There is good information at http://stateparks.mt.gov/smith-river/smithRiverFAQ.html
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Boulder Garden below last camp on the river
Camp Site Sign
Trails can be accessed from some of the camps
Cliffs border most of the Smith
If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
American Whitewater. Don't worry about multiple submissions from other witnesses, as our safety
editors will turn multiple witness reports into a single unified accident report.
Wild rivers and their enthusiasts got some good news with the release of the new 15-20 year Forest plan for the Flathead National Forest. The decision newly protects 22 streams as eligible for Wild and Scenic designation, based in large part on the advocacy of American Whitewater and our awesome partners and members in Montana. These protections will serve as a vital steppingstone to the designation of some of our Nation’s most outstanding headwater streams.
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