AFFTA Fisheries Fund Grantee: Save Montana’s Smith River



Montana’s Smith River is one of the most iconic and breathtaking waterways in the nation. 59 inaccessible river miles from the Camp Baker put-in at the Sheep’s Creek confluence to Eden Bridge, the 5-day float is considered a bucket-list item by many. But for tens of thousands of Montanans, the Smith, in all its rugged and pristine wildness, affords a quality of life and livelihood that they’ve known for generations – a quality of life and livelihood that is currently under threat of being erased by the proposed development of a copper mine in Sheep Creek, the Smith’s headwaters.

AFFTA has stood for years with Montana residents and many conservation groups in opposition to mining for copper in Sheep Creek – and we are proud to continue our support by awarding a Fisheries Fund grant to one of the front-line organizations, Montana Trout Unlimited, for their Save Montana’s Smith River awareness and education efforts.

Key project objectives include:

• Educating the public (in Montana and nationally) about the threats posed to the storied Smith River by a copper mine proposed in its headwaters, including risks to water quality, stream flows and fisheries.

• Increasing national awareness with anglers and other Smith River recreationists about threats to the river.

• Working closely with guides, outfitters, and representatives from the outdoor industry to engage them in the fight and keep them updated on the needs and progress.

“Montanans want to protect the Smith River’s wealth of sustainable virtues — recreation, angling, scenic beauty, cultural treasures, and outdoor economy,” says David Brooks, Executive Director of Montana Trout Unlimited, “rather than allow a foreign mining company to risk those values and our grandchildren’s legacy for short-term profit.”

“Supporting the tireless work that Montana TU is putting into protecting the Smith goes right to the heart of the Fisheries Fund mission,” adds Tom Melvin, Chair of the Fisheries Fund committee, “and right to the heart of every fly angler who understands the importance of standing up for their own home water. We’re proud to help that work continue.”

Learn more about the campaign and how you can get involved by visiting


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