Fort Smith, Montana
One of the pure joys of fly fishing is having the chance to float by drift boat 13 miles of the Big Horn River. We set afloat at Fort Smith, Montana, a small town located on the Crow Indian Reservation in southeast Montana. You realize the enormity of the river and the vastness of the tribal land. With two in the boat, an oarsman and the other with rod in hand casting upstream on either side of the boat, made this day seem extra special.
With good advice from the Big Horn Trout Shop, nymph fishing was still active in late fall. The depth of the river allowed us to weight shot our leader and keep our flies at a competitive depth.
Navigating through the seams and working the banks, our luck started to change and the Big Browns were feeding. We floated nearly 2 miles with strike after strike, catch and release, one by one. Truly, the best 2 miles of any river I have ever floated.
What I love about the Big Horn River are the many small streams fingers stemming from the main river. The small streams provide a channel to anchor your boat, step into the narrow stream and wade knee-high to fish undisturbed pools.
With 13 miles approaching and the sun setting over the western hills, the late fall chill is quickly upon us. As we wenched our boat back on its trailer and put our gear away, I can’t help but look back upstream and reflect on what a privilege it was to drift float one of America’s best trout rivers.
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