Other Waters


Many people call the Dearborn the “mini Smith River.” The river’s headwaters begin in the Scapegoat Wilderness and flow east of the continental divide where it meets up with the Missouri River about 6 miles downstream from Craig. The lower section offers fun dry fly fishing and great streamer and nymph fishing. The float itself is mind-blowing as you’ll wind and turn through a stunning canyon and through some technical whitewater and rock gardens. The float season on the Dearborn can be short, depending on snowpack and rain affecting stream flows. It is very difficult to predict the floatability and fishing on the Dearborn so you must be flexible in your plans and expectations when booking a Dearborn trip. If the flows are not conducive to floating this small river, then we would fish the Missouri instead. It’s best to call our shop and check with us before floating the Dearborn as flows can change dramatically and quickly.  Typical float season on the Dearborn starts the 3rd Saturday in May (that’s the first day you can legally fish on small streams in Montana) and runs through mid to late June. We need at least 400cfs to float this river with the ideal range being 500cfs to 800cfs for fishing. We do float it at flows up to 1200cfs but when the flows are that high, we don’t expect to catch many fish but it’s worth it just to experience this stunning river.  (Due to the extra expense of the long shuttle and the fact that you’ll be floating through 22 miles of technically challenging water, we ask that you tip your Guide a minimum of $150. Believe me, they deserve it!)

Dearborn River-FirstRapidPanorama

  1. Full Day Float
          Full Day Float 

    • Full Day Cost is $700 for 1 or 2 anglers
    • A Full Day is 8-11+ 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 the river. (Restrictions on transportation may apply).
    • CrossCurrents is also happy to furnish state-of-the-art 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. (Usually $180 – $300.  See Other Info & Policies tab for more information on tipping.)
  2. Resources

    For streamflow information on the Dearborn River click here: Dearborn River Streamflow

  3. 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 $140 and $200 per day. -However, we recommend $200 to $300 for gratuity for a Dearborn River trip due to the extra cost of the shuttle and the extreme long mileage (21 miles) and time to float the amazing river. 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 medical benefits packages for independent Guides. We guide anglers because we are passionate about this activity/sport/hobby. Guides truly appreciate your generosity.)

    Reservation/Deposit/Cancellation/Refund Policy: Guided trips
    STANDARD Guide Trip Policy: If cancellations or changes 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.  If cancellations or changes are made between 15 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 used for retail purchases from our stores or online.  If cancellations or changes are made within 8 to 14 days of your reserved date(s) the entire deposit will be forfeited and will be used to pay in part to the scheduled Guide(s) in lieu of lost wages.  If cancellations or changes are made within 7 days of your reservation, full payment will be taken using the credit card on file for the deposit, as we have to pay our Guide(s) in full for those lost wages.   If we are unable to provide your reserved Guide service due to unforeseen events, your entire deposit will be refunded and we will beg 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.  We recommend Travel/Trip Insurance.
    We do not normally 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 scenic Dearborn River!

If you want to fish in warmer weather in the late Fall and Winter time, then HOOK up with our Craig Store Manager, Captain Ben Cooley, down in Cocodrie, Louisiana from October through early March.  Ben specialized in sight fishing for bull Redfish (30″ to 45″) as well as large Black Drum (up to 30+ pounds), finicky Sheephead (‘Cajun Permit’) and the occasional Speckled Seatrout, giant Alligator Gar and screaming Jack Crevalles.  Ben operates out of his 18′ Baycraft tunnel hull skiff with a 90hp to get you to the fish and then poles the boat to put you stealthily right near the big fish!  Cocodrie is about an hour plus from New Orleans which can make for a nice vacation where you spend a couple/three of days in the salt marsh chasing bull Redfish and then spend some time in the Big Easy of New Orleans! Can you say them good eats!!  Ben specializes in fly fishing in the marsh but if the weather doesn’t cooperate (or your fly angling skill isn’t as good as you thought), he has some high-end spinning rod outfits to either cast artificial or bait to get into the big fish.  Please check out Ben’s website at MuckinMarauderFlyfishing for more details, pricing and photos.  Feel free to call him in our Craig store (406-235-3433) when he’s in Montana from late March through September.

Bull Redfish Capt Ben Cooley and Strainer in LouisanaNetting a Black Drum in Louisiana