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. (The Blackfoot can be an excellent “Plan B” river if the Smith is too low to float – so keep that in mind if you find yourself holding a Smith River permit and it’s flowing at 150cfs!)
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  $625 for 1-2 angler(s)
    • A Full Day is 5-9 hours long.  (Half Day is same price as full-day for the Blackfoot due to drive and river distance and cost for our Guides.)
    • Includes snacks, non-alcoholic drinks and a delicious streamside lunch.
    • Your guide provides all the tippet and flies used.
    • Includes transportation to and from the river. (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.
    • Gratuity for the Guide is greatly appreciated. (See Other Info & Policies tab for more information on tipping.)
  2. Other Info & Policies

    Gratuity for Your Guide:  We get a lot of questions about tipping 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 for the Blackfoot runs between $150 and $250 per day – a little more than the Missouri due to the much longer drive and extra vehicle shuttle cost. However, the decision is yours, and you should tip what you feel is appropriate. Cash given directly to the Guide at the end of the day is always the best way to let your Guide know how much you appreciated their efforts and help.  (FYI- There are no 401k plans, company cars or benefits packages for independent Guides. We guide anglers because we are passionate about this activity/sport/hobby. Guides truly appreciate your generosity.)

    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 $300/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.

    Standard Policy: If cancellations are made more than 30 days before your reservation, a full refund of your deposit less a $15 per Guide Day reserved service charge will be returned.  If cancellations are made between 11 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 10 days of your reserved date(s) the entire deposit will be forfeited and a large portion of that will be used to pay to the scheduled Guide(s) in lieu of lost wages and expenses incurred.  If we are unable to provide your reserved Guide service due to unforeseen events, your entire deposit will be refunded and we will grovel for your forgiveness.  We understand that unforeseen situations can lead to cancellations and we reserve the right to make refund decisions on a case-by-case basis.
    SPECIAL JUNE & JULY CANCELLATION POLICY:  There are no refunds or transfers of any kind for reservations made for the months of June and July if cancellations or changes are made within 30 days of the June or July reservation.

    Travel insurance is highly recommended. Some examples:  Signature Travel Insurance by IMG/Global Rescue,   Allianz Travel Insurance, CPO Sportsmans Travel Insurance, Travel Guard.  CrossCurrents has no affiliation to any of these companies, though, we are a member of MOGA (Guide/Outfitter Trade Association) and they have a pretty good partnership with Global Rescue, so that’s the one we would recommend considering first.  We are providing these names and links for your convenience. We have no affiliation with any of the insurance companies, nor do we endorse any of these companies but we highly recommend travel insurance on bigger trips.

    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.  Travel insurance is recommended on extended trips. Some examples:  Signature Travel Insurance by IMG/Global Rescue,   Allianz Travel Insurance, CPO Sportsmans Travel Insurance, Travel Guard.  CrossCurrents has no affiliation to any of these companies, though, we are a member of MOGA (Guide/Outfitter Trade Association) and they have a pretty good partnership with Global Rescue, so that’s the one we would recommend considering first.  We are providing these names and links for your convenience. We have no affiliation with any of the insurance companies, nor do we endorse any of these companies but we highly recommend travel insurance on bigger trips (like the Smith or groups sizes larger than 8).

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:   (We highly recommend using Jet Fuel Floatant on all your dry flies)

    • #8-#14 Chubby Chernobyl (Purple, Royal, Golden, Orange, Black, Tan)
    • #12-#16 Purple Haze
    • #12-#18 Parachute Adams
    • #6-#12 Stimulators (Orange, Royal, Yellow)
    • #10-#16 Elk Hair Caddis (Tan, Olive, Brown)
    • #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.]
    • #14-#16 Micro Chubby
    • #4-#12 Parachute Madam-X’s [aka. PMX or Bugmeister] (Peacock, Yellow, Royal)
    • #8-#14 Royal Wulff
    • #14-#16 Corn-Fed CDC Caddis
    • #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:  (We highly recommend using a CCFS Nymph Rig)

    • #4-#12 Rubberleg Nymphs (Brown/Orange, Black/Brown)
    • #6-#12 San Juan Worms (Wire Worms, Red, Brown)
    • #6-#10 Tungsten Trout Retriever (Black Lab, Chocolate Lab & Golden Retriever)
    • #4-#10 Bitch Creek Nymphs
    • #6-#12 Zirdle (Natural, Olive, Tan)
    • #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, Purple, Gold)
    • #12-#14 Copper Johns (Copper, Red, Black)
    • #14-#18 Bead-Head Pheasant Tail (regular and flashback)
  3. Streamer Flies for the Blackfoot River
     Streamers:   (We highly recommend a RIO VersiLeader with your streamers.)

  1. Blackfoot River SHUTTLES
    CrossCurrents Fly Shop does not run shuttles on the Blackfoot River.  (We are busy enough with the Missouri and Dearborn!!)  We rely on the great service we get from Ovando River Shuttles (home- 406-793-2568 or cell- 406-210-2795).  You can call or text them on their cell phone and pay by cash or check in vehicle or Venmo online.  (FYI- Always good to leave the drivers at least a $5 cash tip. They work hard even on the weekends and holidays so you can go and play -so please be kind and show them some gratitude with some gratuity!)
  2. Blackfoot River Streamflow, Weather & Snow Pack Resources
  3. Blackfoot Recreation Cooridor

    The Blackfoot River is a special place for many reasons – it’s wildness, wildlife, beautiful scenery and of course the fish and the fishing are all magnificent!  To help ensure the perpetuity of all these wonderful attributes, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks -with great cooperation of the locals in the valley and other government agencies – have put in place some special rules along some of the Blackfoot’s reaches.  From the popular FAS’s, Russell Gates to Johnsrud, runs the Blackfoot River Recreation Corridor.  There are some different rules in this section of the river that can affect how you recreate and what is expected from floaters, anglers and campers.  Here are some helpful links to learn more about the Blackfoot and the BRRC to help you plan a day trip or a multi-day excursion on the beautiful Blackfoot!

    MT FWP’s Blackfoot River Recreation Site (overview)

    MT FWP’s Blackfoot River Floater Guide (a 44 page, downloadable pdf with lots of great info, maps, photos of sites and more.)

    Reservations for Float-in Campsites call 1-855-922-6768 or go online at here:  Blackfoot Float In Camp Registration.