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Blackfoot River

Activities > Boating Blackfoot River Recreation

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Blackfoot River

Located in the west-central part of the state and famously known as the centerpiece of Norman Maclean’s novel “A River Runs Through It,” The Blackfoot River is one of Montana’s most popular rivers for recreation. The river’s outstanding natural resources, incredible scenery, and multitude of recreational opportunities all contribute to its popularity. Fishing, whitewater boating, recreational floating, innertubing, camping, swimming, or just simply relaxing are some of the activities that can be enjoyed on the Blackfoot.

 

Blackfoot River Recreation Corridor

The Blackfoot River Recreation Corridor is an agreement between Private Landowners and Government entities. In 2015 the Montana Fish and Wildlife commission adopted regulations for a special management section of the Blackfoot River known as the Blackfoot River Recreation Corridor. The Blackfoot River Recreation Corridor exists from Russell Gates Fishing Access Site downstream to Johnsrud Fishing Access Site.

Camping along or on the river on both private and public lands is prohibited within the Blackfoot River Recreation Corridor.  As part of the Blackfoot River Recreation Corridor, FWP, Bureau of Land Management, and Private Landowners have set up a float-in camping program along the Blackfoot River Recreation Corridor that would allow floater’s the ability to camp at designated float-in campsites after first obtaining a reservation and permit to do so from FWP. The Blackfoot River Recreation Corridor also established 3 river access sites for the public to access through privately owned land, as well as permits the public to use the privately owned shoreline for up to 50ft from the river to walk and wade up and downstream from designated river access sites. 

 

Blackfoot River Float-in Campsites 

The float-in campsite program on the Blackfoot River provides opportunities for floaters to enjoy overnight trips along the river. There are 8 reservable float-in campsites. 

Each of the individual float-in campsites are available by reservation and special permit only, which must be obtained in advance by contacting the Region 2 FWP office at 406-542-5500. Once a reservation is made with FWP, you will receive a permit to use the reserved campsite.

Glass is prohibited at float-in campsites. Fire pans, proper food storage, and portable toilet systems are required. Float-In camps are limited to a maximum of 10 people.

A cost for a permit is as follows: 
  • $18 per night without valid Montana fishing license 

  • $9 per night without valid Montana fishing license (MT resident over 62 or disabled) 

  • $12 per night with a valid Montana fishing license 

  • $6 per night with a valid Montana fishing license (MT resident over 62 or disabled) 

 

Special Recreation Permits

On March 10, 2005, the Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission adopted administrative rules requiring a Special Recreation Permit to conduct commercial use, competitive events, and organized group activities on the Blackfoot River and lands adjacent to the river that are owned or managed by the department.

Blackfoot River Commercial SRP Rules and Regulations (PDF)
This document explains the terms and conditions that apply to all Restricted Use Permits authorizing commercial use on the following restricted use rivers: Alberton Gorge (Clark Fork), Beaverhead, Big Hole, Blackfoot, Madison and Smith. 

2021 Blackfoot River SRP Application (PDF)
The required application for obtaining a special recreation permit on the Blackfoot River. 

2021 Blackfoot River Use Report (Excel)
Every SRP Holder must submit the following documents by December 31st. 
Email electronic copy of Use Report to FWP River Ranger as an attachment.

2021 Blackfoot River Use Report Cover Sheet (PDF)
Please mail in signed cover sheet with any due payments.

 

How to use the commercial use report: 

 

Contacts


River Recreation Manager 

Christine Oschell, Ph.D.
3201 Spurgin Road 
Missoula, MT 59804 
406-542-5562 
coschell@mt.gov

 
Blackfoot River Ranger 

Cannon Colegrove 
FWP Region 2 Headquarters 
3201 Spurgin Road 
Missoula, MT 59804 
406-542-5564 
cannon.colegrove@mt.gov