Fly Fishing The Bighorn River in Fort Smith, Montana
Unquestionably one of Montana’s most famous trout rivers, fly fishing the Bighorn River is on every angler’s bucket list. Its trout-filled waters flow from the base of the Yellowtail Dam in Fort Smith, Montana and abundant insect hatches produce exceptional rainbow and brown trout fishing almost year-round for both novice and expert anglers alike. With a team of the most hardworking and courteous guides in Montana, the Bighorn Angler is second to none when it comes to outfitting, having offered high-quality fly fishing packages for over 30 years. Their wide array of lodging options, top-notch guide service, and home-cooked meals are the perfect ingredients for the ultimate Bighorn River fly fishing experience. You will also find a fully-stocked fly shop with knowledgeable and courteous staff on-site.
The Bighorn Angler offers a wide array of lodging options consisting of lodge rooms, cabins, and even custom homes to accommodate angling groups of any size.
Connected to the fly shop, the Lodge Rooms offer anglers the best mix of quality, convenience, and price in Fort Smith. Rooms come with either two or three beds and are equipped with air conditioning, satellite television, and wireless internet.
Bighorn Angler Cabins
Adjacent to the fly shop, each of the two cabins has two bedrooms, one full bath, a full kitchen, and a sitting area, along with a covered front porch. They also include air conditioning, satellite television, wireless internet, and a gas grill.
Two identical cabins are located on the bluff about one mile from the fly shop. Surrounded by over 40 acres of private land and a quarter-mile of river frontage, each cabin is 2,000 square feet with three bedrooms and two full bathrooms. There are six beds in each cabin, and each cabin is outfitted with a furnace, fireplace, and air conditioning. The kitchen has all stainless steel appliances, concrete countertops, a wine rack, herbs, and spices for cooking, pots, pans, dishes, and silverware. The living area has extremely comfortable leather furniture, reading lamps, a fireplace, and 50-inch plasma television with surround sound, a DVD player, and satellite television. Each cabin also has a gas grill and wireless internet access.
You will not find a nicer property to rent on the Bighorn. Consisting of four bedrooms and two and a half baths, this property accommodates groups of eight anglers with ease. In addition to these four bedrooms, you will find a full kitchen, large family room with fireplace, laundry room, and a covered wrap-around deck with the finest views of the river. A gas grill, wireless internet, satellite television, bedding, and towels are also provided.
Food and Beverages
Meals are served in their dining hall which is located behind the fly shop. The breakfasts are hearty and dinner is prepared by their in-house chefs from scratch each night. Each meal consists of a salad, entree, and dessert. The menu is set nightly ahead of time. Fort Smith is located in the Crow Indian Reservation, where the sale of alcoholic beverages is prohibited. Alcoholic beverages must be purchased in Hardin or Billings prior to your arrival.
Non-Angling Activities and Options
This is primarily a fishing-focused destination. However, there are a few sights that non-anglers and anglers will find fascinating. The Little Bighorn Battlefield is located 45 minutes away. You can take a tour of the battlefield where Custer’s famous “Last Stand” and defeat to Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse occurred. There is also a historic museum on-site as well. Bighorn Lake is a short 10-mile drive from the shop. It is a popular area for boating, fishing, and wildlife watching.
Internet / Communications
Internet access is available at the Bighorn Angler. Cell coverage in the Fort Smith area can be spotty. Be sure to check with your service provider prior to your trip regarding specific coverage in the area.
How To Get There
The closest commercial airport is Billings (BIL) which is about 2 hours away.
Arrival and Departure Details / Times
Upon arrival into Billings, visiting anglers will need to rent a car to get to and from Fort Smith. Rental cars are available at the Billings Airport.
Montana fishing licenses are available at all area fly shops and sporting goods stores, or online by visiting the following website: Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. You will need a valid driver’s license or other photo ID in order to purchase your fishing license.
Yellow Dog provides airline reservations ad ticketing assistance through etcTravel Group, and a full-service airline logistics agent that can help book airline tickets, hotels, rental cars, and more. You can click here to request a quote or contact Yellow Dog for more information at 406-585-8667. etcTravel Group offers dedicated support services for all Yellow Dog clients. Service fees may apply when booking or researching tickets, and etcTravel will discuss this with you before sending quotes.
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The Bighorn River is a classic tailwater river, emerging from the depths of Bighorn Lake in Eastern Montana. The Yellowtail Dam has created a fertile river, displaying unique spring creek characteristics that allow rainbow and brown trout to thrive almost year-round. There is somewhere around 5,000 fish per mile in the Bighorn, with the highest population counts near the Afterbay Dam. Trout in the river average around 15 inches, with many fish pushing the 20-inch range. Bighorn river trout fight as hard as any on the planet, due to highly consistent water temperatures year-round.
Below Afterbay Dam, the fishing remains productive for about 30 river miles. From here, the Bighorn is broken into three distinct sections: Afterbay to 3 Mile, 3 Mile to Bighorn Access, and Bighorn Access to Mallard’s Landing. Each section contains variances in water temperature, fish per mile, aquatic life, hatches, and fish behavior. These characteristics create unique fishing conditions in which the angler may experience a wide array of terrific fishing throughout the year. Throughout the river’s length, rainbows and brown trout thrive on a steady diet of sowbugs, scuds, worms, and midges year-round which accounts for the large average size of the fish in the river.
Boats and Equipment Required
Float fishing on the Bighorn River is accomplished with comfortable, Western-style drift boats. Remember that rods, reels, flies, tackle, waders, and boots are all included in your package if you do not have or bring your own. The Bighorn Angler also carries all the necessary equipment for purchase if you’d like.
Rates and Terms
Remember that Yellow Dog’s services are completely free! When you book a trip with Yellow Dog, you never pay more than when you book directly with the lodge.
Lodge Room (based on 2 anglers)
3 nights / 2 days = $1,045.00 per person
4 nights / 3 days = $1,495.00 per person
5 nights / 4 days = $1,925.00 per person
Deluxe Lodge Room (based on 2 anglers)3 nights / 2 days = $1,095.00 per person4 nights / 3 days = $1,595.00 per person5 nights / 4 days = $1,995.00 per person
Bighorn Angler Cabin (based on 2 anglers)
3 nights / 2 days = $1,195.00 per person
4 nights / 3 days = $1,725.00 per person
5 nights / 4 days = $2,195.00 per person
Pricing for larger cabins based on group size is also available upon request.
- Guided fishing
- All meals (cooler lunch, waters, sodas, etc on guide trips)
- All flies & terminal tackle provided by the guide
- Rods/reels and waders/boots (if needed)
- Transportation to and from the river on guided trip days
- Shuttle fees for guide’s vehicle
What’s Not Included:
- Airfare (fly into Billings)
- Transportation to/from the lodge (rent a car)
- Fishing licenses (available at the fly shop)
- All alcoholic beverages (BYO)
- Gratuities for guides and lodge staff
- Lodging taxes
Bighorn Angler (Ft. Smith, Montana)
TERMS AND CONDITIONS – CANCELLATIONS
A deposit of 50% per person is due at the time of booking for all trip packages and reservations, and final payment if due 90 days prior to arrival. All trip cancellations must be received in writing, sent to Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures, LLC. For all cancellations outside of 30 days of scheduled arrival at the lodge, a full refund or a trip credit (minus a 10% per person lodge cancellation fee and a $100.00 per person Yellow Dog cancellation fee) will be issued. For cancellations inside of 30 days, deposits and final payments will be forfeited, and no refund or credit will be issued. If a cancelled package is resold by either the lodge/operator or by Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures, then a full refund will be sent minus a $100.00 per person Yellow Dog cancellation fee. In the case of cancellation by the client, both deposit and final payment may be transferred to another guest or angler for those same (original) dates if facilitated and arranged by the client. Receipt of deposit and/or final payment is acknowledgment that registrant has read and accepts the deposit, cancellation, refund and responsibility clauses for these packages. Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures strongly recommends that anglers and guests purchase travel insurance for this trip.
CLICK HERE TO VIEW YELLOW DOG GENERAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS AND CANCELLATION POLICIES
Payment Terms For All Yellow Dog Trip Bookings
In order to lock in your trip reservation, we ask that you please remit payment at the time of receipt of invoice. For your convenience, Yellow Dog accepts on-line payments via a direct and secure ACH platform – a quick and easy way to complete your trip reservation. Note that all Yellow Dog invoices include a live link that takes you directly to the Yellow Dog ACH platform for fast and easy payment. For open and existing invoices with a remaining balance, payment reminders also include this easy link to the ACH page.
Other customary forms of payment that are accepted are checks or wire transfers. If you would like to pay in a different way or have any questions about alternate payment methods, please contact Yellow Dog at (888) 777-5060 or (406) 585-8667. We are available Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Beginning September 1st, 2020, Yellow Dog will apply a 3% convenience fee for all credit card transactions.
Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures Standard Forms For Payment
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*Please contact us if you prefer or require a different payment option. Convenience fees may apply for other payment methods.
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