State of Montana Website Montana State Parks Website
River Recreation Permits

Permits and Special Restrictions are in place on some of the rivers in Montana as a way to protect the recreational experience and the river resources.

  • Smith River —The Smith River, managed as a state park, features an incredible 59-mile stretch of river with only one put-in and one take-out point. Due to the demand for floating use and the need to manage the resource and recreational experience, a limited number of float permits are issued. The application for the Smith River permit is due each year in mid February. [Learn more]
  • Madison River —If you are organizing a competitive event or plan to recreate in a group of 15 or more on the Madison River and adjacent public lands, a Special Recreation Permit is required. [Learn more]
  • Blackfoot River —Commercial use, organized group events and competitive events on the Blackfoot River also require a Special Recreation Permit. All persons sponsoring or conducting commercial uses and competitive events requiring a special recreation permit should apply to FWP at least 60 days before the use is intended. All persons sponsoring or conducting an organized group activity should contact FWP at least 30 days before the activity is intended to begin. [Learn more]
  • Alberton Gorge—A permit is required to conduct commercial use on the Alberton Gorge of the Clark Fork River. Please contact the FWP Region 2 office in Missoula for more information (406) 542-5562.
  • Beaverhead and Big Hole Rivers —A permit is required to conduct commercial use on the Beaverhead and Big Hole rivers. Please contact the FWP Region 3 office in Bozeman for more information (406-994-3552). There is no permit required of the general recreating public but there are special angling and boating restrictions that apply to nonresidents and commercial outfitters. [Learn more]