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 $125. Believe me, they deserve it!)
Full Day FloatFull Day Float
- Full Day Cost is $600 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 your lodging (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.
For streamflow information on the Dearborn River click here: Dearborn River Streamflow
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 $90 and $150 per day (about 15% to 25%). We recommend at least $125 for gratuity for a Dearborn River trip due to the extra cost of the shuttle and the extreme long mileage and time to float the amazing river. However, the decision is yours, and you should tip what you feel is appropriate. (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.)
Third Angler or non-angler in Boat: 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 $275/person for three clients per Guide. This is only available for the Missouri River however, and at higher water levels (above 6,500 cfs) 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 $15 per Guide Day reserved service charge will be returned. 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 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.
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).