Blackfoot River


Just about every fly fisherman has heard of the Big Blackfoot River. Well known from Norman Maclean’s novel, A River Runs Through It, and made famous by the movie of the same name. The Blackfoot River is a fun river to float, fish and explore. There are literally dozens of float trips to do on the Blackfoot with some of the stretches containing some exciting white-water. Wade fishing can also be a good way to fish this river though much of the river runs through private land so access in many places can be a little tough.
When you fish with one of our guides on the Blackfoot River, you can focus on having fun. You won’t have to occupy your mind with …is this the right fly?   … am I in the right spot?   …am I making the right presentation?  Our Guides work hard to ensure that the answers to those questions are: “YES!”

CrossCurrents Fly Shop is outfitter owned and operated by Chris Strainer veteran Missouri, Smith and Blackfoot River Guide. 

  1. Guided Float
          Full Day Float     

    • Full Day is  $575 for 1-2 angler(s)
    • A Full Day is 7-10 hours long.
    • Includes snacks, non-alcoholic drinks and a delicious streamside lunch.
    • Your guide provides all the tippet and flies used.
    • Includes transportation to and from your lodging (some restrictions on transportation may apply).
    • CrossCurrents is also happy to furnish Orvis rods, reels and waders if you don’t have any or want to leave your gear at home.
    • Fishing License NOT included. Montana Fishing Licenses and other quality gear can be purchased at CrossCurrents Fly Shop.
  2. Other Info & Policies

    Gratuity for Your Guide:   We get a lot of questions about gratuity for the guides. All guides typically receive gratuities for their hard work on the water, and depend on them as part of their income. Typical gratuity for a guide runs between $75 and $125 per day (about 15% to 25%). However, the decision is yours, and you should tip what you feel is appropriate.

    Third Angler or non-angler in Boat:  A standard Guide Day is for 1 or 2 anglers per Guide but we try to be flexible and can sometimes accommodate 3 anglers per Guide.  However, we only have a few guides that can handle 3 clients (due to boat size and/or willingness) so please give us a good amount of lead time to ensure that we can book those Guides.  We charge a $230/person for three clients per Guide.  This is only available for the Missouri River however, and at higher water levels (above 6,300 cfs) we cannot accommodate 3 clients per Guide in a boat due to safety reasons.  Keep in mind that with 4 people in a boat (3 Clients, 1 Guide), each person’s fishing time is greatly diminished.  We strongly encourage the use of another Guide for the third person or find a fourth angler.

    Reservation/Deposit/Cancellation/Refund Policy:
    Guided trips require a 50% deposit that is collected and applied on a per guide day basis. Your guide day(s) will not be confirmed until deposits are received. If cancellations are made more than 30 days before your reservation, a full refund of your deposit less a $25 per guide day reserved service charge will be returned to you.  If cancellations are made between 8 and 30 days of your reserved date(s) your deposit will be applied to a future trip later that year or the following season or for retail purchases of anything in our stores or the Orvis catalog.  If cancellations are made within 8 days of your reserved date(s) the entire deposit will be forfeited and a portion of that will be used to pay to the scheduled guide(s) in lieu of lost wages and expenses incurred.  SPECIAL JULY CANCELLATION POLICY:  There are no refunds or transfers of any kind for reservation made for the month of July if cancellations or changes are made within 30 days of the July reservation. We do not issue cash refunds for cancellations made within 30 days of your reservation.  We operate in all safe weather and water conditions, therefore inclement weather or water or non-desirable fishing conditions are not reasons to cancel or receive a refund.  Often times “bad weather” is the best fishing weather!  Please keep this in mind.  Failure to show or failure to cancel in a timely manner will result in you being liable for the entire cost of the reservation and our resultant collection of that amount from you.  All reservations are secured with a valid credit card.  Please be certain of your dates to avoid complications and service charges.  If we are unable to provide your reserved guide service due to unforeseen events, your entire deposit will be refunded. Travel insurance is recommended on extended trips. Some examples include: Travel Guard, Allianz, and Travel Insured International(CrossCurrents has no affiliation to any of these companies.  We are just providing these names and links for your convenience.)

Give us a call  or  send us an e-mail  and we will by happy to arrange your trip of a lifetime on the The Big Blackfoot River! 

The Blackfoot winds its way 146 miles from the Continental Divide to its confluence with the Clark Fork River. The Big Blackfoot has long been the source for many peoples’ recreational trips to Montana. Much of the popularity is due to the movie, “A River Runs Through It” (though it was not actually filmed on this river). The Blackfoot is known for it’s scenic beauty and historical significance. Meriwether Lewis journeyed up the Blackfoot and over the continental divide on the return trip of the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery over 200 years ago.
Fishing can be excellent as early as April and continue to fish well through October. Dry Fly hatches are prolific throughout the summer and offer the angler fabulous fishing throughout the day. Native Westslope Cutthroat and Bull Trout as well as wild Rainbows, Browns and Brook Trout inhabit the river which offers the angler the opportunity to catch all five trout species in a single day. Of course there are more than a few “Montana Bonefish” in these waters and you couldn’t complete the true Blackfoot River Grand Slam without catching a few Whitefish!

  1. Dry Flies for the Blackfoot River
    Dries:

    • #12-#18 Parachute Adams
    • #10-#16 Tan/Brown/Olive Elk Hair Caddis
    • #2-#6 Salmonfly Patterns (they are normally in mid-June through early July)
      [Stalcup’s , Jacklin’s Giant Salmonfly, Rogue Foam Stone, etc.]
    • #6-#10 Golden Stonefly Patterns (they are normally in mid-July into August)
      [Jacklin’s Giant Golden {doubles as a hopper too!}, Rogue Foam, etc.]
    • #4-#12 Parachute Madam-X’s [aka. PMX or Bugmeister] (Peacock, Yellow, Royal)
    • #8-#14 Royal Wulff
    • #6-#12 Stimulators (Orange, Royal & Yellow)
    • #10-#14 Humpies (Green, Red)
    • #6-#10 Hopper patterns (Stalcup’s, Dave’s)
    • #12-#18 Ants & Beetles  (Blooms Parachute, Two-Tone)
  2. Nymph Flies for the Blackfoot River
    Nymphs:

    • #2-#10 Stonefly Nymphs (Brown &/or Black, Golden)
    • #6-#10 Tungsten Trout Retriever (Black Lab, Chocolate Lab & Golden Retriever)
    • #4-#10 Bitch Creek Nymphs
    • #10-#14 B/H Prince Nymphs (Brass or Tungsten)
    • #10-#14 B/H Hare’s Ear (Brass or Tungsten, regular and flashback)
    • #14-#16 Lightning Bugs (Silver &/or Gold)
    • #12-#14 Copper Johns
    • #14-#18 Bead-Head Pheasant Tail (regular and flashback)
    • #6-#12 San Juan Worms (Steel Worms, Red, Brown)
  3. Streamer Flies for the Blackfoot River
     Streamers:

    • #4-#8 Bead-Head Woolly Buggers (Black, Olive Wine-Tail, Brown and Olive)
    • #4-#8 Bead-Head Girdle Buggers (Black, Olive Wine-Tail, Brown, JJ Specials)
    • #6 Flash-Fry Zonkers!
    • #4-#6 Trina’s Big Head Todd Zonker
    • #4 DG’s Bugz Bunny (Black, Tan or Purple)
    • #4 Sheila’s Sculpin
    • #4-#6 Exasperators or Strung-Out Streamers (Black, White, Olive, Brown.)
    • #4-#8 Zonkers (Black, White, Olive, Brown)
    • #4-#6 Muddler Minnow (Kiwi, marabou and/or traditional)
    • #4-#6 Conehead Bow River Bugger (White or Black)
  1. Blackfoot River SHUTTLES
    CrossCurrents does not run shuttles on the Blackfoot River.
  2. Blackfoot River Streamflow, Weather & Snow Pack Resources
  3. Stream Etiquette

    It used to be that most new fisherman were gradually introduced to the sport of fly fishing by a family member or friend who had a fishing background, and various rules of behavior would be acquired over time and adhered to as a matter of course.  Nowadays, we welcome many adult newcomers to the sport with no tradition to rely on for guidance so stream side misunderstandings can easily arise.

    The rules of stream side behavior are few and easily observed.  Mostly they revolve around common sense, courtesy and consideration of others sharing the stream.

    A section of water belongs to the first fisherman fishing it.  It is inconsiderate to crowd him/her and just “how close” an approach is permissible is an obvious variable.

    A slow moving or stationary fisherman has every right to remain just where he is.  If you are moving, leave the water and walk around him, being certain not to disturb his fishing or the water he might be working.  In a similar vein, a fisherman may be resting a pool or planning his next move.  It is still his water, and you should not jump in without his permission.

    A fisherman working in an upstream direction has the right of way over someone coming downstream.  Wading upstream against the current forces you to move slowly, cover less water and you are approaching the fish from behind.  The fisherman working in a downstream direction covers more river quickly, and has the potential to disturb more water, i.e. careless wading could send silt or debris washing downstream to alarm fish someone is working over.

    Many streams flow through private property.  Recognize access across that land is a privilege, not a right.  Respect private property.  If unsure about access, ask the landowner politely.  On ranch properties, don’t trample crops, disturb livestock, or leave gates open.  Leave no litter at stream side.  In fact, get in the habit of picking up discarded monofilament, cans and other trash, and carry them out to be discarded properly.  [Montana has a wonderful Stream Access Law that allows the public to access rivers and streams if the individual(s) remain within the ordinary high water mark.  Montana is the only Western state in the nation with such a law.  It is under constant attack in the courts by some selfish landowners – mostly out-of-state, absentee landowners – who want their own private trout stream.  Please support organization that actively defend this law, like Montana Trout Unlimited, and do nothing to give the stream access foes ammunition for their cases.  Basically do what was mentioned earlier in this paragraph.]

    Recognize that skilled anglers and/or heavy fishing pressure with excessively liberal limits can greatly reduce the available fish populations in any stream unless voluntary restraint is practiced.  A legal limit is not a quota, let your fishing motto be – “limit your kill, don’t kill your limit.”  Orvis and CrossCurrents encourages a catch and release philosophy of angling, allowing fish to mature, reproduce, and live to challenge other anglers in the future.  [Remember, Montana is unique in that we have not stocked any river or stream with hatchery fish since the late 1960’s.  We rely solely on wild trout to produce more wild trout.  So the fish in the river today have the awesome responsibility of perpetuating the species.  Therefore, it should be our awesome responsibility to protect those wild trout and their habitats so they have the best chance to make lots of strong, healthy fish in future!  A few years ago we outlawed the hunting of big game animals on “game farms” in Montana with the understanding that there is a difference between wild animals and “domesticated” versions of those animals.  We have a fair chase ethic with hunting wild animals – we too should have a fair chase ethic with fishing for wild trout.]

    Multiple recreational uses of streams are common.  We may share the resource with tubes, canoes, drift boats, rafts and other float crafts.  It is the responsibility of the floater to recognize that the wade angler has established a position before the boat floated into view.  The floater should try to pass behind the angler.  If the space doesn’t permit this, the floater should float by quietly and with minimum disturbance.  [Polite communication by both the rower and wader is always a help in this circumstance, thereby avoiding many of the contentious issues that surround the hotly debated “Row vs. Wade” on our rivers!]

    In summary, behave on the stream towards other anglers, as you would like them to behave towards you.  Welcome to the wonderful world of fly fishing and have fun!