Bighorn River Fly Fishing

The 8th most popular fly fishing river in Montana.

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Near Bighorn and Fort Smith, the Bighorn River is considered by many as the best trout river in the Rockies. The Bighorn River is a tailwater fishery coming from Yellowtail Dam with over 5,000 fish per mile. While there are large rainbow trout, it is the plentiful brown trout up to 20 inches long that most fly fishermen are after.

The best section to explore is below Afterbay Dam near Fort Smith, which is one mile below Yellowtail Dam, heading downstream about 45 miles to Hardin. River access is provided by SR313 to waders and floaters. The more popular access points for fly fishing the Bighorn River include Three Mile, Bighorn, Mallards Landing and Two Leggins. The main cadis season is late-July thorugh September.

When fly fishing on the Bighorn River, the best way is to float or drift boat the river. There are limited public access points.

Overall, Bighorn River is the 8th most popular fly fishing river of all 21 fly fishing spots in Montana.


Local Contact(s):  Bighorn National Forest (307) 674-2600; Bighorn River Fly Fisher (866) 658-7688.

Recommended Book:  "Fly Fishing Bighorn River" from Steve Galletta

Best Season:  July - Sep.

Base Camp:  Afterbay Campground

Luxury Loding:  Forrester Bighorn River Resort, Fort Smith (800) 665-3799

Reference Source:  click here

Article Source:   Best Bighorn River Fly Fishing Review

GPS:  45.317148, -107.921228

Date Published:  1/3/2016

Date Updated:  3/24/2018

ID:  20792

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Bighorn River Fly Fishing Map


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For fly fishing the Bighorn River in Montana, our printable fly fishing guides offers river descriptions, maps, lodging suggestions, driving directions, levels of difficulty and points-of-contact.