If you missed Part 2 you can read it here > Smith River, Montana – Part 2

Part 3 – The Trip Days 4&5 and Our Thoughts

The last two days of our trip were blessed with more sun and gradually warmer weather.  The only decent fishing we saw the last two days was mid-afternoon on Day 4 when a gray drake hatch came off for a few hours.  Fish were stacked in pods along a few banks and in some foam lines where a dropped anchor and a few casts through the right zone resulted in fish.  Again the views were stellar to finish out the trip.  Enjoy the photos from the last two days and I’ll wrap up below with my thoughts on the current state of the Smith River.

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Each morning brought about a battle with frozen gear but slowly warmed with a good meal and sun finally peaking over the horizon.

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Hey guys, it’s another sick cliff wall. Weird.

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Brandon with a nice rainbow caught along an overhanging rock wall.

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Solitude? The eddy to hike to the main pictograph cave was a zoo!

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Moments from Day 4.

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Maddie with another parachute sipping rainbow. This one caught inches off a rock face after a dozen casts to get the right drift.

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Fishing hard despite the tough water conditions.

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‘Merica

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Awesome to see the ladies crushing it with the fly rod!

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Final night on the Smith River.

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Keeping things fresh on the last night.

Thoughts on the current State of the Smith

First off I strongly feel that the Smith River Drainage is a resource and area that we need to preserve for generations to come.  Whether it’s fisherman, campers, recreational floaters, mountain bikers, hunters, ranchers, etc we need to make sure this valley continues to thrive naturally as it has since it was settled by early cattle and sheep ranchers.  I have my own personal thoughts on the proposed mine and those are constantly evolving as the process and situation continues to progress.  I think right now given what I’ve read and seen that the mine is a bad deal for Montanan’s and the Smith River Valley.  Our historic track record with mines has only resulted in mine companies making their money extracting resources and then the waste and damage is left with the people of Montana and public taxpayers.  Mining is a subject that is a double edged sword in my head though.  Our society relies on mining in almost all aspects of our lives.  Is it right to be ok with mines in South America and Asia that tarnish their environments because we never have to live with the consequences or eye sores of those mines?  Do we really care about conservation and the environment or do we only care when it’s in our own backyard and effects our happiness? I think there are ways to responsibly mine and have minimal impacts on the surrounding areas.  We just need to be active in making sure all parties are accountable and that we have good forward vision with each project that comes up.  Most importantly though, we all need to be involved in these subjects and do our own research.  Don’t believe what Trout Unlimited or Tintina Resources tells you just because they sent you an email or postcard with some fancy facts and info on it.  Don’t let a social media post sway your opinion.  Go read, talk to people about it, experience it first hand, dig a little deeper, gain an understanding and most importantly BE ENGAGED!!!  That process is so, so important on so many issues we currently face as sportsmen and as people who love wild places and public lands and waters.

-Written by Zack Boughton

-Photos by Travis Boughton, Zack Boughton, Calvin Connor

2 replies
  1. Tyler
    Tyler says:

    Agreed, needs to be protected. Though general public cannot forget that mining companies don’t do it for fun, they do it because there is a demand by general population for those resources, and the technologies they desire (phones, computers, etc).

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