Our time in the Bighorn River area near Fort Smith MT was an absolute blast. We toured the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, sampled local food, stayed in a campground of nothing but fly fishermen and had an epic fishing time on the Bighorn River. Our trip with Merritt Harris of Bighorn Trout Shop was beyond amazing. Big, wild brown and rainbow trout were in every run, riffle and pool. We sampled indian fry bread at our usual stop near the Little Bighorn National Battlefield Monument. Cottonwood Camp served as our basecamp for our time in the area. It was a stone’s throw from the Bighorn so each evening we’d fish until we couldn’t see our flies anymore. Then we’d throw a streamer hoping to feel one more tug before heading back to the SaraLinda. We hope you enjoy the short music video of highlights of our trip. For now, we are on to Bozeman MT and the Gallatin River.
Oh Montana! For our first stop in our adopted home state of Montana, we hit the Bighorn River near Ft. Smith. We’d heard stories and had read about how great a fishery the Bighorn is, but we’d not fished it here in the Ft. Smith area where it is most well known. What we know firsthand now is that all the stories are true.
Epic is a word that gets thrown around a lot in the fishing world so we try not to use it freely and save it for the truly amazing days. For us, epic doesn’t mean biggest fish ever, or even most fish ever (although that certainly helps) but means a day of great fishing and fun. So….. our trip on the Bighorn with Merritt Harris of Bighorn Trout Shop was truly EPIC!
We started out just below Afterbay Dam and fished our way down to the Three Mile Access takeout. In between, we fished from the boat but waded in certain holes along the way. In both cases, big wild brown and rainbow trout were fought and netted. More importantly, we had a guide, Merritt, who made the day not just productive for sure, but so much fun.
Merritt is one of the most requested and hardest to get guides on the Bighorn. Not sure how we were so lucky to have him as our guide, but we’ll definitely be back to fish with him again. I’d highly recommend that if you’re coming to fish the Bighorn, call the Bighorn Trout Shop and ask for Merritt.
For now, enjoy this interview we did with him parked in some shade along the Bighorn. If you look closely, you’ll even see a fish rise to eat a black caddis. Enjoy!