Originally Posted by Billy Goat
Doesn't answer your question, but if you wanna cruise in that new boat, many people float the Smith in a day with boats like that. The permit is a camping permit.
This is really not true. The permit is to float the river. You need a permit for a day float or overnight float (for any area between Camp Baker and Eden Bridge). The limited availability permit season is from April 1 to October 31, outside that time permits are first come first serve at Camp Baker. The peak season May 15 to July 15, during which you are limited to 4 nights. Prior to May and after the middle of July limited launches are usually not all taken during the draw, so you can often just call the office and get permit during those time periods. Of course based on flows for any given year leftover permits may be spoken for fairly quickly. By August, if flows are suitable to your craft you are virtually assured of obtaining a permit on what ever day you'd like. That's probably what Billy Goat is talking about.
There are some day floats, but they are even more seasonally limited. Above camp baker the river is SMALL, Sheep creek joins the Smith right at Camp Baker and it's responsible for about 40% of the flow. Above that it can supposedly get thin quickly. I haven't floated out side of the permitted area so no first hand info. I do know people that fairly frequently float below, but I know little about it, other than it gets seriously dewatered (and as such, is responisble for a major amendment to Montana's Water Rights laws).
We've talked about going all the way to the Missouri before but never seem to act on it (or even research it).