BIGHORN RIVER LODGE
Montana’s Bighorn River Lodge has drawn avid fly fishing enthusiasts for decades. Known as a top fly fishing destination, the Bighorn River boasts an abundance of trout ranging in size from 15 to 19 inches, many exceeding 20 inches.
Recent fish counts indicate an unsurpassed fish population of 7000 - 8000 brown and rainbow trout per river mile. The Bighorn River is situated just north of the Bighorn River Canyon which straddles the Wyoming-Montana state line. If you are looking for a once in a lifetime Montana fly fishing vacation, this is your destination!
Guests may choose to stay in one of the 5 bedrooms, fitted with two beds and Montana charm, or rent a private Caddis Cabin which houses up to five. The Western style and rustic elegance of the lodge make it somewhere between a cabin atmosphere and executive Montana retreat.
Unique only to the Bighorn River Lodge, they are located directly on the bank of the Bighorn River, 13 miles downstream of Yellowtail Dam, allowing guests private river access. Bighorn River Lodge takes pride in their guide staff. They use friendly, local and knowledgeable Montana fly fishing guides who spend hundreds of days on the river each year.
While changing seasons and water conditions vary, anglers can expect to have consistent nymphing opportunities with timely dry fly hatches. Streamer fishing is often available for those who want a bit more of an angling challenge. Begin and end your day with four course culinary creations as prepared by the executive chef and staff.
In 2011 the Bighorn River Lodge reintroduced the tradition of Cast and Blast which specializes in waterfowl hunts. The fertile croplands bordering the temperate waters of the Bighorn River create amazing habitat ideal for migrating ducks and geese. A world-class fishing destination mixed with Montana’s legendary wing shooting creates an unforgettable Western experience.
At a Glance
Location: Ft. Smith, MT on the banks of the Bighorn River
Target Fish: Brown trout, Rainbow trout
Time of Year: Year Round
Lodge Capacity: 14 guests
Nearest Airport: Billings Logan International Airport (BIL)
Documents Required: Montana Fishing License. Valid Driver’s License (if purchasing a fishing license at the lodge)
After a wonderfully prepared breakfast at the lodge, you will meet your guide and leave for fishing. The guide will put you on fish all day and have a nice shore lunch for you. The afternoon will be more fish and the day of fishing generally concludes right at the lodge’s private boat ramp.
The Bighorn River’s reputation as one of the West’s best fly fishing destinations speaks for itself. With the completion of Yellowtail Dam in 1967, the Bighorn River has become a clear, cool tailwater, hosting between 7000-8000 rainbow and brown trout per mile.
The average trout caught on the Bighorn ranges in size from fourteen to twenty inches. Guests are often surprised by the abundance and size of trout caught each day. Without a doubt, fly fishing Montana’s Bighorn River is an unforgettable experience. A typical day on the Bighorn might include nymphing, streamer fishing or dry fly fishing.
Embracing this unique landscape, Bighorn River Lodge exists to provide the ultimate in Montana comfort as well as outdoor adventure. They specialize in enhancing the experience of the client with expert Montana fly fishing guides, resort-like accommodations and gourmet cuisine.
The Bighorn River Lodge is crafted in the log-style construction that is representative of historic Montana. Guests enjoy luxurious double occupancy rooms that have been updated and renovated for your comfort.
Each room features a pair of soft, warm beds adorned with fine linens, a private bathroom and plush accommodations. King size beds are available for couples on request. The Lodge comprises of five different bedrooms each with its own unique personality and décor. With the addition of the Caddis Cabin, they can easily accommodate groups up to fourteen.
A warm and inviting hearth room is where most guests congregate to swap stories. Enjoy a crackling fire in the fireplace and delicious hors d’oeuvres. Step out onto the spacious deck and take in one of Montana’s breathtaking sunsets while the finishing touches are made on dinner.
The Bighorn River Lodge has been described by guests as “a gourmet restaurant disguised as a fishing lodge.” Guests can expect hearty Montana-style breakfasts, delicious handmade boat lunches, and savory home cooked dinners that are beyond compare.
A typical dinner might include your choice of Merlot Glazed Beef Short Ribs or Cornmeal Crusted Walleye with Lemon Caper sauce, served with Garlic Roasted Mashed Potatoes and Bacon wrapped Asparagus. It is truly exquisite cuisine, prepared from scratch every day.
After a relaxing meal around the dinner table, enjoy a friendly game of poker at the custom made poker table, fish the private bass pond or hit the river one last time and take advantage of the evening hatch.
For those who want to explore the Bighorn River valley on their own but still want the comforts of home, the Caddis Cabin is for you.
The Caddis Cabin offers all of the amenities of the lodge, without the services. This Montana style cabin in located at the famous Bighorn Access (thirteen miles below the Afterbay boat ramp) making it a perfect destination for those who want a “do it yourself” fly fishing adventure.
The Caddis Cabin will comfortably sleep five guests and features two bedrooms, one outfitted with a pair of twin-sized beds while the second features two queen mattresses. The sofa in the main living quarters pulls out to sleep one more. The cabin offers three private bathrooms, all with showers.
Bring your own food to prepare your favorite meals in the modern kitchen or step outside onto one of the two decks and use the grill. All cookware is provided. The living area has a flat screen TV to relax after a prolific day of fly fishing on the Bighorn River. Guide services, meals, upstream transportation and other equipment and services are not included in the rental of the Caddis Cabin unless otherwise arranged.
Make travel arrangements to Montana’s largest city, Billings. The airport ( BIL) in Billings has a good schedule of flights and is served by Delta, United, Horizon and Big Sky Airlines. Rent a car and drive to Fort Smith. The Lodge is located just 12 miles downstream of Fort Smith. If you do not want to rent a car, the lodge can pick you up and return you to the airport at the end of your trip, all for a modest fee. Let us know if we can set that up for you.
Driving Directions from Billings:
From Billings, follow I-90 East to Exit 456 toward Sheridan.
Merge onto I-90 East and travel 40 miles to Hardin, MT.
Take Exit 495 toward Hardin/City Center. Take right into Hardin. Drive south through town until the road turns into Highway 313.
Drive 22 miles to St. Xavier on HWY 313.
Turn left at St. Xavier (still on HWY 313) toward Yellowtail Recreation Area.
Bighorn River Lodge is located approximately 5 miles from St. Xavier on the right hand side of HWY 313. Turn right at Bighorn Access sign and Bighorn River Lodge billboard. Follow arrows to the lodge
Note: A public airstrip is available in Fort Smith for private planes.
2019 Rate Schedule and Fishing Packages
April 1 - September 1
3 Nights, 2 Days Fishing . . . . . $1,825.00/pp dbl occ
4 Nights, 3 Days Fishing . . . . . $2,370.00/pp dbl occ
5 Nights, 4 Days Fishing . . . . . $2,800.00/pp dbl occ
6 Nights, 5 Days Fishing . . . . . $3,200.00/pp dbl occ
Package Includes: Accommodations, meals and guiding (two people per guide), terminal tackle.
Not Included: Transportation to and from the lodge, fishing licenses (purchase online ahead of time or at the lodge – cash or check only), alcohol,* gratuities, applicable state accommodations taxes.
Single supplement charge is $200 per fishing day
* Bighorn River Lodge is located on a dry reservation. Guests need to bring their own alcohol. If you wish to purchase alcohol you will need to do this at a liquor store or bar in Billings, Montana.
Food and Lodging only: Call for pricing and availability
Non Sporting rate: $275 per night.
River day trips: $500 per boat.
Jet Boat day on the lake: $500
Rental gear: $50 per day