Permit applications for a self guided adventure down the Smith River opened Monday, January 5th this year. The deadline for applications is Thursday, February 19th with permit drawing results being announced online at MyFWP Monday, March 2nd. Remember, only successful applicants are notified by mail. Although there is a $10 non-refundable application fee whether you are a Montana resident or not, you get three launch date choices! There are three ways to apply for the lottery drawing:

  1. Online at FWP’s Automated Licensing System (ALS)
  2. Pick up an application at any FWP Office. Submit at the office or mail application to the address on the form.
  3. Download and print an application. Submit to the FWP office or mail application to the address on the form.

Paper applications MUST be postmarked or submitted no later than Thursday, February 19th.

wading on the smith

Another Record. 2014 was another record setting year for permit applications numbering 7,373 with only 1,122 permits issued. Although you have less than a 5% chance of being draw for the prime dates of June 1st through July 4th, you can apply for a Super Permit through a separate lottery that allows the winner a launch date of their choice. If you are unsuccessful during the regular lottery you can try your fortune again by purchasing as many Super Permit chances as you like. But, you only get until until March 19th to do so. At only $5 per chance, there are no limits at the number of Super Permit chances you can purchase. The lucky winner of the Super Permit will be notified in person by the Smith River State Park Manager.

I won last year! If you won a permit for a launch date during the peak season of May 15-July15th last year, you won’t be able to apply for a permit this year for the peak season. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t float the Smith! To get an adventure in this year, you’re going to have to apply for a permit outside of the peak season, beginning March 16th score a cancelled permit by calling the Smith River Reservation line from 8am until noon Monday through Friday, or find some friends to apply. Remember the Golden Rules: the person applying for the permit must be at least 12 years of age at the time they submit their application and the winner of the permit MUST be a member of the float party, as permits are not transferable. Yes, the permit holder will be required to show their ID!


Chris and client with a nice Brown trout.

Still no permit? You can always book a spectacular guided Smith River Trip with one of the eight authorized commercial outfitters. CrossCurrents can help you book a guided trip on the Smith River. Chris Strainer, the owner of CrossCurrents Fly Shop, is a guide on the Smith River for Lewis and Clark Expeditions. Compared to the hard-work of a self-guided trip, on this trip all you need to do is show up, fish, eat, drink, and fish some more!

CrossCurrents Fly Shop is your Smith River expert. From ‘what flies do I use?,’ ‘what camps should I choose?,’ ‘what should I bring?,’ to ‘what do I cook?’ – we can help make it a trip you want to remember. Never floated the Smith? You can read our 3-part blog series Jennifer wrote to acquaint yourself with a Smith River adventure. Weather you’re a self-guided Smith River Pro or a first time floater, CrossCurrents has high quality rental rafts and gear to help outfit your adventure. Give us a call or email us today as our limited stock new to one year old NRS and AIRE rafts book quickly for Smith River trips!

We look forward to helping you with your Smith River adventure.
Happy Fishing! …or Floating!

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