Streams Outside of Yellowstone National Park
.............................Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park

01/13/09

Fly Fishing the Smith River, Montana - Part 2

In yesterday's article on the Smith River, I complained about the ranchers blocking a
state highway to load cattle. On that same trip, the best thing that happened to us was
due to a rancher being extremely nice to us. We finally got in the area of the Smith
River we were looking for but were still not able to find the particular location we had in
mind. We noticed a gentlemen stopped at one of the entrances of a ranch along the
desolate road, so we stopped to ask for some information and directions. It turned out
the gentleman owned the huge ranch that the river ran through in that area. When we
told him the location we were looking for, he said that we were welcome to fish the river
on his ranch - a lot of river by the way. He not only welcomed us, he took time to show
us several areas that we could access the river that allowed us to drive across his
ranch right up to the stream. He commented that no one fished the river from his
property and that no one had ever asked to do so. He was extremely nice and helpful.

We took him up on it and fished one of the areas he showed us. We were able to catch
a few trout in the short time we had to fish. We had spent most of the day dealing with
the blocked highway, car wash and just driving mile after mile across the Prairie. We
spent the night about a hundred miles from there (at least it seemed that far) and
resumed trying to find other places to fish the following day. We didn't wear our
welcome out fishing the gentleman's ranch although I feel sure it would have been
perfectly fine with him. We wanted to see what was available for the public to fish, other
than those lucky enough to draw a ticket for a float trip under the state's Las Vegas
system.  

I really don't know the details that lead up to the state permitted lottery system. I
understand the river was very crowded before that system existed. From discussing this
with several people that are familiar with the Smith River, before and after the system
existed, it seems that the permitted system came about as a result of the outfitters
wanting it. It seems totally ridiculous to me. I want be filling out an application for the
drawing. You can count on that. Although Montana has the best trout fishing in the
United States, the Smith River deal sucks as far as I am concerned. Since I probably
don't have all the information I should to be writing about it, I will end the Smith River
article with my final comment about it. What a shame. I give the Ranchers a big A plus
and the both the State of Montana and their "Outfitters" a big F on this one.  

Copyright 2009 James Marsh