Difficulty I-III
Length 59 Miles
Gauge Smith River bl Eagle Cr nr Fort Logan MT
Flow Range 250 - 1500 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 19 minutes ago 126 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 11/12/2019 6:53 pm

River Description

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.


Rapid Descriptions


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Karen Hensley
5 years ago

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

Gage Descriptions

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Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

Date Flow Result Factor  
2018-05-21 High Fatality High Water Read More
2011-05-16 High Fatality One Boat Trip Read More



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Appeal Challenging Montana Navigability Is Denied

Jason Robertson

On May 28 the U.S. Supreme Court denied an appeal by Mountain States Legal Foundation who filed a lawsuit in June 2001 alleging the 1985 Montana Stream Access Law violated their rights under the U.S. Constitution to regulate who floated over their land.

The decision thereby protects Montana's Stream access law and public rights of navigation throughout the State.

article main photo

River Recreationists Win Big in Montana!

Jason Robertson

The Missoulian newspaper reported on January 5th, 2001 that U.S. District Judge Charles C. Lovell dismissed a case brought by the Mountain States Legal Foundation challenging public recreational rights on Montana’s rivers and streams. This is a huge win for boaters and fishermen!

Thomas O'Keefe


Matt Muir


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1213877 11/12/19 Thomas O'Keefe updated image position
1206363 04/22/16 Thomas O'Keefe mapedits
1190815 01/19/02 n/a n/a
1202981 01/03/14 Thomas O'Keefe permit edits
1198922 12/03/10 Thomas O'Keefe permit link added
1197066 01/07/10 Thomas O'Keefe gauge update
1201706 12/26/12 Thomas O'Keefe permit link update
1205291 10/08/15 Thomas O'Keefe photo added