Fly Fisherman Magazine once described Bighorn River Lodge as “the best lodge on the best fly fishing river in the world.” This first-class facility is located directly on the banks of the Bighorn, a clear, cool Montana tailwater river that hosts thousands of rainbow and brown trout per mile. Here you can fish long days for large, wild trout – returning each evening to enjoy the comforts and amenities of the nicest lodge in the area. This high-end, riverside lodge features five private bedrooms, a common area with a river stone fireplace, a fully-stocked fly shop, and expansive decks to enjoy the Montana scenery during the summer months. First-class accommodations, great food, hard-working guides, and one of the most productive fisheries in the West make this a lodge you’ll want to return to time and again.
LOCATION: Fort Smith, Montana
CAPACITY: Maximum of 14 anglers at a time
CLOSEST MAJOR AIR HUB: Billings, Montana (BIL)
TARGET SPECIES: Rainbow and brown trout
DOCUMENTS REQUIRED: Montana fishing license and valid ID
CONTACT US FOR MORE INFO 888-777-5060 INTL 01-1-406-585-8667 info [at] yellowdogflyfishing [dot] com
Bighorn River Lodge has the distinct pleasure of being recognized twice by Travel & Leisure and Departures Magazine as one of the top fishing and outdoor lodges in the West. The Lodge itself is situated on the banks of the river, designed and built with the most discriminating angler in mind. The Lodge is outfitted with the finest and most comfortable furnishings, original pieces of wildlife art, a common area with a native stone fireplace, and expansive decks to enjoy the scenery during the summer months. On warmer days you can sit outside on the deck after a day of fishing and watch trout rising in the Lodge’s private pond while you converse with friends. The interior of the Lodge was designed for total privacy. The bedrooms are comfortably furnished, and each has its own private bathroom. There are no two rooms back to back, guaranteeing you a quiet and restful sleep.
Food and Beverages
“Dinner is served!” No sweeter words could be uttered at the end of a day on the river. The dining room seats up to twenty, located directly off of the lodge's expansive kitchen. The dining room offers a variety of seating arrangements, spectacular works from renowned artists, and views of the river and surrounding wildlife. Breakfasts are cooked to order, lunches are packed in coolers for your day on the river, and dinners include gourmet menu items such as thick Montana steaks, chops, chicken and fish.
Typical Length of Stay
Trips and packages of any length can be arranged, although there is a three night, two-fishing-day minimum stay during the summer and fall seasons. All trips are completely customized. Call Yellow Dog for details.
Non-Angling Activities and Options
For non-anglers, the short trip to the nearby Little Bighorn Battlefield is more than worth the effort. It leaves a powerful impression to walk along the chalky bluffs where Custer and his Seventh Cavalry engaged the Cheyenne and Sioux over one hundred years ago.
Internet / Communications
Internet access is available at the Lodge. Most cell phones work in the Fort Smith area of Montana as well.
The most productive trout fishing waters of the Bighorn flow through the Crow Indian Reservation, an area approximately one hour south of Billings. In this 13-mile stretch below Yellowtail Dam, the river's character is not unlike that of an enormous spring creek, with undulating weed beds, deep holes, undercut banks, and occasional riffles. The Bighorn is a veritable “insect producing machine," keeping its resident browns and rainbows fat and happy twelve months a year. The primary hatches on the river include caddis, tricos, pale morning duns, little yellow stoneflies, baetis and midges. The hatches are not very diverse, but the ones that come off do so in impressive numbers. In fact, the midge hatches can be so prolific that fishing larger "cluster" patterns is a regular technique.
Open hilly plains with scattered patches of trees make up the surroundings of this fantastic river. Gravel and grass islands are found throughout the stream, and sandstone cliffs and groves of willows rise from the banks. The river is home to large numbers of fat rainbows and brown trout. While the days of 8,000 fish per mile on the Bighorn may be gone, the size and the quality of the fish have never been better. Holding true to its reputation, the Bighorn River added two new records to its reputation in 2004: a 32-inch brown trout was caught and measured, tipping the scales at 15 pounds. Later in the same year, a 32-inch, 15-pound rainbow was caught and released in the same section. To have two record fish caught in the same year speaks volumes for the rivers ability to produce large fish.
Boats and Equipment
The guides of Bighorn River Lodge use top-of-the line drift boats to float and fish the river. The Lodge has a complete selection of rental gear, as well as a fully-stocked fly shop.
How To Get There
Guests fly into Billings, Montana (BIL), to an all-weather international airport served by Northwest, Delta, United, Horizon and Big Sky airlines.
Arrival and Departure Details / Times
A public airstrip also is available at Fort Smith for private aircraft. Rental cars from all major agencies are available at the Billings Airport or, for a nominal fee, the Lodge can arrange to pick you up at the airport and drop you off at the end of your stay.
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 to present a valid driver's license in order to purchase your fishing license.
Yellow Dog offers a full in-house travel and reservations system, and can assist with airline tickets, hotels, transfers, and all travel logistics for every destination that we offer. Contact us at 888-777-5060 or travel [at] yellowdogflyfishing [dot] com for more details on airfare ticketing, travel services and trip insurance.
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 or outfitter. All prices listed below are per person, based on double occupancy, and quoted in US dollars. Trips of any length of stay can be arranged, so please call Yellow Dog for details and custom package pricing.
3 nights / 2 days of guided fishing = $1,825.00
4 nights / 3 days of guided fishing = $2,370.00
5 nights / 4 days of guided fishing = $2,800.00
6 nights / 5 days of guided fishing = $3,200.00
Single angler supplement charge is $200 per day
- Number of nights lodging as specified in your package
- Number of days of guided fishing as specified in your package
- All meals and non-alcoholic beverages
- Flies and terminal tackle
- Daily streamside lunch
- Transportation to and from the river and all shuttle fees
What's Not Included
- Transportation to and from Billings, Montana (BIL) to Ft. Smith, Montana
- Montana fishing license
- Alcoholic beverages
- Gratuities for guides and lodge staff
- Montana lodging tax
- Equipment rental (available for rent at an additional cost)
Fall "Cast and Blast" Packages
The Bighorn River Lodge believes that the "cast and blast" is meant to be experienced as a continuous event. Your day afield will start before first light, as you set up situated behind a variety of different decoy spreads. As the bird movement tapers down, you will typically switch gears and head back to the river. Shotguns stowed, fly rods in hand, you'll set off for a day of fall fishing on this legendary river. When the skies become restless in the afternoon, you can switch back to take advantage of the evening flights. No matter how you look at it, knowing there are as many trout under the water as there are ducks and geese above is simply a rare experience. Please call Yellow Dog for details and pricing.
"Great food! The best guides, gorgeous lodge, super hosts. What a great river! All the elements for a world-class lodge and, of course, big browns."
- Jack Dennis (Jackson, WY)
"Excellent fishing, great guides, tremendous food, special attention...it could not have been better!"
- Jim E. (Roswell, NM)