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Montana State Parks announced today that 2021 float permit applications for Smith River State Park will be available Monday, Jan. 4, through Monday, Feb. 15. The permit drawing will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 23.


Celebrated for its spectacular scenery, remote location and excellent trout fishing, the Smith River is one of Montana’s most sought-after outdoor recreation experiences. Permits are required to float the 59-mile section of river between Camp Baker and Eden Bridge and are issued each year through a lottery. Parties of up to 15 people can float with one permit. A person applying for a Smith River permit must be a minimum of 12 years of age at the time they submit their permit application. There is no age restriction to participate on a Smith River float trip.


Applicants pay a $10 non-refundable permit application fee. Successful Smith River applicants will no longer receive their permit and floater information packet via the United States Postal Service.  Instead, successful applicants will be notified via email shortly after the lottery drawing is conducted on Tuesday, Feb. 23. Links within the email will allow permit holders to download and print their float permit, as well as access vital and detailed information regarding their upcoming Smith River float. Lottery results will also be available online at Those who receive a permit will be contacted by phone two days prior to their launch date to complete the registration process, which includes declaring boat camps and paying the appropriate floats fees. 


Applicants can apply online (beginning Jan. 4) through the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Automated Licensing System. Float permit quotas will be limited between April 1 and May 4 to honor permittees affected by the COVID-19 river closure during this time period in 2020. Additionally, applicants who drew a peak season permit in 2020 will be allowed to apply for a peak season permit in 2021. 


In addition to the permit lottery, the public may purchase as many $5 Super Permit chances as they choose. Montana State Parks issues one Super Permit each year through a separate lottery. The recipient of the Super Permit will be allowed to launch on any date of their choosing for that float season. The opportunity to purchase chances for the Smith River Super Permit will be available from Jan. 4 through April 1. The Super Permit drawing will be announced on April 2.


Chances may be purchased online through FWP’s Automated Licensing System. This is a good option for another chance for a float, if you aren’t awarded a permit in the regular drawing.


For more information about Smith River State Park visit: