Smith River Mine – Fins and Feathers Bozeman
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Category_Montana Rivers -

Smith River Mine

The beautiful Smith River is in jeopardy of becoming a mining experiment.

A few of our staff and guides were able to float the Smith River this season. Many of them were Smith River virgins and upon return, to no surprise, were blown away by the beauty of the journey. Stating, "it was so much more stunning than I ever could have expected". After hearing about their trip I thought deeply about my experiences on the Smith and how much it means to me and my way of life.


I have not been down the river in years. My first time down the Smith was in 2011. My first experience ever rowing a boat was on this exact trip (it didn't go well). 2011 was one of the highest water years in recent history. We caught no fish in the muddy river and spent about 2 hours a day on the river due to rapid flows. However, I will never forget this trip. This is where my exploration of water and fly fishing really accelerated. I have been down the river a handful of times since and each trip has provided me with memories and friendships that will last a lifetime. Pounding rain, snow, beers, bears, whiskey, sunburns, big browns, sunsets, campfires and so much more make the trip unforgettable.

The Problem

A company that is based out of the country has received a permit to mine next to and under most important trout spawning tributary of the Smith, Sheep Creek. Montana has a very poor mining history. A mine at the headwaters of the Smith River has the potential to change the Smith forever, and not in a good way.

I stumbled across this video today and it hit some feelers. It's scary to think a river that has become a part of me and can change the lives of those who float it could be placed in jeopardy for metal and money.

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