Dearborn River: Last Call

We were just about call an end to the Dearborn River Float season, but thanks to Mother Nature, the Dearborn just got a shot in the arm. Heavy rains in Central Montana have pushed the river up to the 400cfs mark from the low 200’s. It’s dropping now, but may hold over 300cfs for the next couple of days. We usually recommend 300cfs as the lowest we like to float the Dearborn, but – depending on watercraft, experience and the amount of time available – you can do it pretty easily down to 250cfs.

Looks like you’ll be able to float it tomorrow, and possibly this weekend if we continue to get some showers along the Front Range. Kayakers and lightweight overnighters should be able to enjoy this spectacular river one last time for the season. The weather looks beautiful this weekend.


If the Dearborn is floatable this weekend and you want to give it a try, we are having a Dearborn Finale Shuttle Special. Dearborn Shuttles will be $50 through the weekend, and this includes all sections! Call the shop the night before to get it set up.


  • Rafts 14′ and larger (7′ beam) will have difficulty weaving through some of the boulder gardens and drops. Rafts with a beam of 6′ or less are best (Maravia Spider, Aire Puma Series, NRS 120, etc.). IK’s, pontoon boats and Water Master/Outcast Commander are great vessels. Prepare to get out and push off a rock or two in any raft.
  • Keeping your boat rigged light makes it much easier to push off exposed MRB’s (Mid-river Boulders). Hint: 1 bottle of whiskey is much lighter than 3 cases of beer, but has the same effect.
  • Make sure and use legal campsites below the high water mark if doing an overnight trip (camp below where permanent vegetation grows). Easy to find legal campsites on bars at low flows.
  • Dry Fly Fishing can be excellent at the end of float season. Be prepared with Golden Stone Patterns, PMD’s and Caddis. Small Foamies are always effective.
  • PREPARE for a long day, especially if you’re going to do the lower section in a day. At 250cfs, plan on 12 hours of float time. LAUNCH EARLY!

Or you can hit one of the other Limestone Canyon streams in the area (Sun River?), or hit the early PMD’s on the Missouri River. Whatever you do, enjoy a river this weekend!

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