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Fishing on the Smith River

Smith River Permit Holders

Important information to read before you float the Smith.

Know Before You Go


Registration Process

Registration will occur via phone, two days in advance of permit holders’ launch date. River Rangers will call permit holders, in a randomly selected order, between 1-3:30 p.m., MDT. For example, if your launch date is May 10, the Rangers will call you on May 08 between 1-3:30 p.m., MDT.

Permit holders must be prepared to provide the following information, prior to the phone call:

  • Number of nights on the river and boat camp preference

  • Names, ages and state of residence of all members of float group

  • Number and type of watercraft

  • Be prepared to pay full balance of permit fees via one credit card (Visa or Mastercard)

  • In addition, the River Ranger(s) will assign a "one-hour" time interval for each float group to approach the boat ramp to launch.

The following documents will assist you with boat camp selection

  1. Smith River Site Map (PDF)  - Map of the Smith River with boat camps and river mileages

  2. Boat Camps & Mileage (PDF) - Listing all 52 boat camps and their respective river mileages


No Overnight Camping at Camp Baker

Camp Baker is managed as a “day use only” site. No overnight camping, except for the period of Sept. 1 through Nov. 30. 


Thank you for your cooperation. Have a safe and enjoyable trip on the Smith River!

Additional Permit Info

Permits are non-transferable and non-refundable. Permit holders must bring photo ID to the put-in. Permit holders must  cancel their permit if they are not going to use their launch regardless of weather or water flows above 100 cfs. Failure to cancel a permit at least 2 days prior to your launch date, at flows above 100 cfs, will result in losing next years’ privileges for the Smith River permit drawing.

Successful applicants who receive a permit during the time period of May 15 through July 15 (peak season) will not be eligible to apply for a permit for this time period the following year. This pertains even if the permit is cancelled. They may still apply for launch dates outside this time period, accompany other permitted trips or acquire a cancelled permit for any launch date.

Bonus Point System

Pursuant to House Bill No. 846 enacted by the 2023 Montana Legislature, the MT FWP State Parks and Recreation Board authorizes two administrative rules:

Smith River Bonus Point System

  • A person may purchase only one bonus point per year that does not apply to hunting permits or licenses.

  • Purchase of a resident bonus point is $5; Purchase of a nonresident bonus point is $50.

  • The department may only apply accumulated bonus points to a person’s chance to obtain a Smith River permit during the lottery if the person purchases a bonus point when applying for the permit.

  • The department shall mathematically square the number of bonus points a person has accumulated when conducting the lottery for Smith River permits.

  • If a Smith River applicant is unsuccessful in the drawing, they shall retain the bonus points they purchased.

  • An applicant’s bonus points accumulate until the applicant is successful in drawing a permit.

  • If an applicant is successful in drawing a Smith River permit, the applicant’s bonus points are reduced to zero for the Smith River.

  • Smith River Bonus Points legal definition

10% Nonresident Permit availability:

  • The number of permits that can be purchased by nonresidents may not exceed 10% of the available permits.

Human Waste Packout Requirement

Beginning in the 2024 float season, all private and commercial float parties will be required to pack out their human waste from the Smith River corridor. There are multiple types of agency approved, portable, hard-sided toilets acceptable for human waste disposal (see document  below.) Alternative waste disposal systems, including bag systems (i.e., Clean Waste, RESTOP2 etc.), are not allowed. 

A SCAT (Sanitizing Containers with Alternative Technology) Machine providing for a user-friendly means of disposal has been installed at the Eden Bridge take-out. Agency approved portable, hard-sided toilets are designed to be washed and sanitized in the SCAT Machine after use. Alternative waste disposal systems, including bag systems (i.e., Clean Waste, RESTOP2 etc.), are not allowed.

Smith River Regulations

Be a good steward and help protect Montana’s public lands by following these rules and regulations:

Camp Baker
  • Day use only. No overnight camping, except for the period of Sept. 1 through Nov. 30. 

  • Food, garbage and other attractants must be stored in a bear-resistant manner when unattended, day or night.

  • Fires permitted in designated fire grates only.

  • Fires must be completely contained within the fire grate and fully extinguished.

  • Motorized vehicles restricted to roads and parking areas.

  • Preserve natural and cultural resources – do not remove or damage.

  • Discharge of firearms, weapons or fireworks prohibited.

  • Pack In - Pack Out. Do not litter.

River Corridor
  • River floating requires a permit year-round.

  • Floater fees required year round.

  • Commercial outfitting restricted to authorized Smith River outfitters.

  • Camping allowed in designated sites only.

  • Camping limited to 4 nights while on the river (May 15–July 15).

  • Human waste must be packed out using an agency approved, portable, hard-sided toilet(s).

  • Food, garbage and other attractants must be stored in a bear-resistant manner when unattended, day or night.

  • Fires permitted in designated fire grates only.

  • Fires must be completely contained within the fire grate and fully extinguished.

  • Pets are prohibited; exceptions include legitimate service dogs and hunting dogs used for lawful purposes during legal hunting seasons.

  • Preserve natural and cultural resources – do not remove or damage.

  • Feeding and harassing wildlife is prohibited and unsafe.

  • Discharge of firearms and weapons prohibited in boat camps. Fireworks prohibited on all public land within river corridor.

  • Pack In – Pack Out. Do not litter.

Related Documents

Food Storage Regulations

To minimize human-bear and other wildlife conflicts and thereby provide for public Safety the following food, garbage and attractant storage regulations are established for Smith River State Park and Rive Corridor from March 1 to December 1 annually.

Smith River Ethics

The Smith River is a special place. As a visitor, you have the responsibility to be a steward of the land and the fishery, as well as respect private property and the experiences of other floaters.

Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics

  • Plan Ahead and Prepare

  • Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

  • Dispose of Waste Properly

  • Leave What You Find

  • Minimize Campfire Impacts

  • Respect Wildlife

  • Be Considerate of Other Visitors

Angler & Boating Ethics – River recreationists can avoid conflicts by being considerate of all users.

Respect Private Property – Approximately 80% of the property through the Smith River corridor is private property. The success of Smith River State Park & River Corridor depends upon cooperation with private property owners.

Fishing Ethics – Be aware of how you can prevent the spread of aquatic disease and exotic species, and protect waterbirds.

Authorized Smith River Outfitters

The following list of commercial outfitters are the only outfitters currently permitted and authorized by both Montana FWP and the U.S. Forest Service to provide float trips on the Smith River. It is illegal for any unauthorized outfitter or individual to provide commercial services to Smith River floaters (This does not apply to vehicle shuttles or bed and breakfasts).

If you wish to hire the services of an outfitter, do not apply for a private permit in the drawing, since each outfitter is allocated a specific number of launches for specific days of the week and month. Outfitter launch calendar



  • Blast & Cast Outfitters (B & C)
    Todd France
    P.O. Box 824
    Ennis, MT 59729



  • Glacier Guides/ Montana Raft (GG)
    Mark O'Keefe & Denny Gignoux
    P.O. Box 330
    West Glacier, MT 59936



  • Lewis & Clark Expeditions (L&C)
    Mike Geary
    270 Tuke Lane
    Twin Bridges, MT 59754



  • Montana Angler Fly Fishing (MAFF)
    Brian McGeehan
    76 Lucille Ln
    Bozeman, MT 59718



  • Montana Flyfishing Connection (MFFC)
    Joe Sowerby
    P.O. Box 17701
    Missoula, MT 59808



  • Pro Outfitters (PRO)
    Brandon Boedecker
    P.O. Box 621
    Helena, MT 59624


Vendor Services

FWP provides this list of private services (shuttles, equipment rentals, and accommodations) solely for the convenience of the recreating public. In providing this list FWP assumes no liability whatsoever for any loss incurred by anyone, including any person who may choose to make use of these services nor does FWP make any express or implied warranty or representation of competency or fitness of these services.

Shuttles and Equipment Rentals

  • All River Equipment
    Dana Corson
    201 N Hannaford (office)
    2920 Billings Ave (rental delivery and pick-up)
    Helena, MT 59601


    Services offered: All River Equipment specializes in sales and rentals of self-bailing rafts and NRS raft accessories, kayaks, stand up paddle boards, bear resistant Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) coolers and portable electric fences, camp gear, dry bags, camp kitchen gear and logistic services at the best prices around. We also rent and sell the Eco-Safe portable toilet system that complies with the Smith River human waste pack-out requirement. Smith River packages are available and All River offers equipment drop off and pick up services.


  • The Base Camp
    5 W. Broadway
    Helena, MT 5960


    Services offered: Great selection of rental kayaks, canoes, stand up paddle boards, PFD's, paddles and throw bags. Our store has a variety of dry bags, gloves and water accessories, and quality outdoor clothing and footwear to outfit your trip on the Smith River. We sell UDAP Bear Spray, and IGBC approved bear resistant Yeti coolers and UDAP Food Storage Bear Fences.


Services offered: Aire and NRS raft rentals with the fisherman and family in mind. Multi-day package discounts specifically for the Smith River. Dry boxes, 3 oars, raft trailer, fishing platforms, pfd’s, patch kit, Yeti 110 cooler and deluxe NRS fish frame included with every rental. Every raft is inflated and customized to your preference when you show up for pickup. We also rent and sell Selway Fabrication’s River Bank II portable toilet system that comply with the Smith River human waste pack-out requirement. 


  • Castle Mountain Grocery
    Shane Sereday
    4273 E US HWY 12
    White Sulphur Springs, MT 59645


    Services offered: IGBC approved Counter Assault bear fences for rental or purchase. Full grocery and drug store. Pre-made sandwiches, burger patties, homemade brats, precooked ring sausage. Flies, fishing tackle and bait. Camping supplies.



  • CrossCurrents Fly Shop
    Chris Strainer, Jennifer Harris
    326 N Jackson
    Helena, MT 59601


    Services offered: Full service boat and equipment rental and sales only. Rentals include new to one year old AIRE and NRS self-bailing rafts with NRS adjustable rowing and fishing frames, inflatable kayaks and canoes, personal pontoons, SUP boards, flat bed trailers; river camping equipment including dry bags, dry boxes, super coolers, cots and shelters; and fly fishing gear including Orvis rods, reels, waders, and boots. Multi-day rental specials offered.


  • Craig Madsen’s Montana River Outfitters
    Craig Madsen, Tim McKnight
    923 10th Ave North
    Great Falls, MT 59401

    406-761-1677 or 1-800-800-8218

    Services offered: Rentals, shuttles and sales of rafts, catarafts, canoes, kayaks, inflatable kayaks, personal pontoons, SUP boards, trailers, IGBC approved Yeti Coolers and UDAP Bear Shock electric food storage fences. Our rafts are state of the art, self-bailing boats complete with Smith River specialized and adjustable NRS rowing and fishing frames, with multi-day discounts. Complete river camping and fishing equipment rentals are available. Vehicle shuttles can be provided, as well as full service pick up and drop off service for people and equipment. Deluxe rental packages are a popular option, which include boats, camping, cooking gear, food packed in coolers and delivered to the put in and picked up at the take out.


  • Explore Rentals
    Will Casella
    32 Dollar Drive
    Belgrade, MT 59714


    Services offered: Star rafts professionally designed and rigged for Smith River overnight trips, inflatable SUPs and kayaks. We rent IGBC compliant electric bear fences and coolers, Selway River Bank II portable electric toilets (that comply with the Smith River human waste pack-out requirement), Paco Pads, dry bags Big Agnes tents and sleeping bags, river cooking kits, Helinox camp furniture, NRS river shelters and the most extensive inventory of rental camping gear in Montana. Plus, rental Orvis rods, waders and boots. We’re also selling 20mm ammo cans (Groovers) that comply with the Smith River human waste pack-out requirement. Rafts come loaded on a trailer, ready to float, and hooked up to one of our rental trucks, if needed. Located next to the Bozeman Airport. Renting cool stuff for Montana adventures since 2010.   


  • Hatch Adventures
    Stephan Morris
    81549 Gallatin Rd, U


    Services offered: NRS raft rentals, camping gear and everything you need for a memorable Smith River trip. Our NRS Outlaw rafts are fitted with a comfortable NRS fishing frame and come inflated on a trailer for easy transport. Lockable bear proof cooler, PFDs, patch kit, 3 oars and dry bag included with each rental. Smith River packages are available.



    East Location                           West Location
    4400 10th Ave South               1000 3rd Street NW
    Great Falls, MT 59405             Great Falls, MT 59404

    (406) 761-7441                         (406) 453-0200

Services offered: With two convenient locations in Great Falls, we are committed to providing top-notch gear and equipment to make for an unforgettable trip down the Smith River.  From quality bear resistant coolers, insulated tumblers, camp furniture, utensils, stoves, dry bags, Smith and Rogue tents & sleeping bags to NRS/Fly Project rafts, kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddle boards and life jackets. Classic gear fishing brands like Daiwa, Shimano and Swate and quality fly fishing brands like Fly Project Sage & Echo. Plus, we sell Eco-Safe toilet systems, 5-gallon buckets with optional Camco toilet lid and 20mm ammo cans, which are all compliant with the Smith River human waste pack-out requirement. 


  • Rubber Ducky River Rentals
    Marlie Anderson; Sissy Hampton
    15 Mount Baldy
    P.O. Box 808
    Livingston, MT 59047


    Services offered: Boat rentals, including: rafts with rowing and fishing frames, kayaks, canoes, catarafts, trailer, and equipment rental and sales. Smith River trip rental specials offered. We also rent the Coyote portable toilet system that comply with the Smith River human waste pack-out requirement.   


  • Smith River Shuttle
    Jody & Caroline Cox
    1699 Millegan Rd
    Great Falls MT 59405

    406-866-3522 or 1-866-500-3522

    Services offered: Vehicle shuttles, minor repairs. We wash and detail every vehicle we shuttle. Original owners/operators since 1996. Located ½ mile from the Eden Bridge take-out. You float, we drive. Clean car when you arrive!


  • The Trail Head
    221 East Front St
    Missoula, MT 59802


    Services offered: Offering the largest selection of boats and river supplies for sale and rent in Montana—including highest quality AIRE or NRS self-bailing rafts; Mad River and Wenonah canoes; Wilderness Designs, Dagger and Perception kayaks; AIRE and Alpacka pack rafts; SUPs and pontoon boats. IGBC approved as bear resistant aluminum dry boxes and Yeti coolers; PFDs, oars, throw ropes, dry bags and more.


Restaurants, Lodging, and Retail Services

  • The Barnwood Cabin
    Owned and Operated by Twin Sisters Trading Company
    Bodie and Alaina Morrison
    509 3rd Ave SW 
    White Sulphur Springs, MT 59645

    Website: Book your stay at

    Services Offered: 2 Bedrooms, 5 beds, full kitchen, TV, Wi-Fi, large parking lot, conveniently located right in White Sulphur Springs. 


  • Double O Lodging
    Dayna Ogle
    13 Castle Mountain Estates Rd
    White Sulphur Springs, MT 59645

    Website: Book your stay at

    Services offered: House with attached garage on 20-acres one mile from White Sulphur Springs.  Sleeps 10-12 people, 4 bedrooms (2 queen beds, 2 twin beds, 1 twin bunk bed & 2 futons), 4 bathrooms, full kitchen, WI-FI, TV, Pool table.


  • The Edith Hotel
    808 3rd Avenue SW
    P.O. Box 318
    White Sulphur Springs, MT 59645

    Phone: 406-547-8888
    Fax: 406-547-2573

    Services offered: hotel, open 24 hours, continental breakfast, free WI-FI, business services, free floater parking, ice, large sulphur-free hot tub, and guest laundry.


  • Heaven On Earth Ranch
    Vic Anderson
    PO Box 389
    Ulm, MT 59485


    Services offered: Bed & Breakfast (Mile 28) – Golf, ice, firewood, cabins. By reservation only.


  • Smith River Custom Apparel
    Heather Novark
    200 S. Central Ave.
    White Sulphur Springs, MT 59645


    Services Offered: We offer custom imprinted garments featuring the Smith River, Montana, White Sulphur Springs and much more. We carry hoodies, t-shirts and hats in all colors and sizes. Stop by for your local souvenir apparel. Open 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, MST, Monday through Friday. RENTAL: Smith River Gateway Apartment located in the apparel shop, 2 blocks off Main St. in White Sulphur Springs. Sleeps three; contact Heather for more information at 406-461-2775.


  • Twin Sisters Trading Company
    Bodie & Alaina Morrison
    14 S Central Ave 
    White Sulphur Springs, MT 59645


    Services Offered: Montana State Liquor Store, sporting goods, fly shop, camping gear, clothing, footwear, and gifts available in our shop. 


  • Willow Creek Cabins
    Connie Townsend
    PO Box 504
    White Sulphur Springs, MT 59645


    Services offered: Two large cabins each sleeping 12 (6 bedrooms), full kitchen, and 2 bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi and secure, private parking. Two private, stocked fishing ponds. 5 miles from White Sulphur Springs.

Smith River Flow Data

Smith River Plans and Reports


Launch Choice Reports
See how many Smith River Permit applicants applied for specific dates on the calendar the previous year, including first, second and third choices and the grand total.

Other Plans and Reports

  • Smith River Management Plan (PDF)
    To ensure that the resources are protected and the Smith River experience remains high, this plan directs the long range development and management of the river corridor.

  • 2022 Smith River Annual Report (PDF)
    A summary of visitor use statistics, management activities and resource and social conditions on the Smith River corridor during the 2022 field season.

  • Biennial Smith River Fee Rule (PDF)
    Fees and administrative rules for private, commercial and landowner float trips in Smith River State Park.

Know before you go

River recreation on the Smith River

Smith River State Park offers gorgeous scenery in a remote setting. Renowned trout fishing is just one of the recreational opportunities that make a float trip on the 59-mile Smith River an unforgettable experience. The Smith River is so popular that a permit is required to float it. The permit process allows visitors a quality, multi-day float in relative solitude. Since the Smith River flows through a remote canyon, there are some things to keep in mind for this adventure. This video will highlight what floaters need to know before their adventure.

Smith River Floater Information Packet

Information and Frequently Asked Questions

If you're considering floating the Smith River, but not sure where to start, how to apply, what you'll need, etc., read this essential information and find answers to some Smith River frequently asked questions. 

Read the Floater Information Packet 
Raft on the Smith River

Smith River State Park


791 Clear Range Road
White Sulphur Springs, MT 59645
(46.803 / -111.182)

View Park Map 
Boat Camps

View boat camps and mileages to plan your trip.

View Boat Camps 
Park fees

View fees to float the Smith River.

View Fees