• Established

    1995. Guest ranch since 1996
  • Owner

    Nick & Francine Forrester
  • Manager

    Francine Forrester
  • Tel

  • Open

  • Nightly Rates (per adult)*

    $650 - $790
  • Minimum Stay

    No minimum stay
  • Maximum Guests

  • Works with travel agents?

  • Great For

    Peace & quiet, Solitude, Diverse scenery, Corporate Retreats
  • Memberships

    Orvis-Endorsed Fly Fishing Lodge
* Rates will vary based on Season and Accommodation selection. Please contact the ranch directly for Date Request, Availability and exact Rate quote/proposal

This is where you’d rather be... Where guests are expertly guided to adventure-of-a-lifetime fly-fishing for trophy catches.

Where 100,000 acres of wild Montana beauty is the setting for unequaled upland bird and waterfowl hunting.

Where luxurious accommodations and world-class cuisine earn gasps of appreciation.

This is where Forrester’s Bighorn River Resort has been turning privileged guests into treasured friends for over 25 years.

Children at the Lodge

Great for children aged 8 and over

Children are welcome, however we do not offer babysitting. Most of our children are fishing partial days or have a caretaker. When out on the river, children are to be accompanied by a parent/guardian.



Baby Sitting

From age 0 to 0. Hourly cost $0.

Baby Sitting Provided By

Babysitting is not provided. 


For over 20 years, Francine and I have felt honored and fortunate to call the Bighorn River our home. It is a place we fell in love with many years ago; a place we desired to share with the world.

But for us, it wasn’t just about the place, as the Bighorn sells itself. Rather, it was about sharing the intricacies of this majestic river valley and lifestyle in a very specific, personable way.

This passion evolved into offering our guests a completely unique lodge experience into the world we live and love, an experience that ventures way outside the realm of outdoor recreation, to unexplored territories of heightened state of mind where guests go to bed wondering how a vacation can be so good!

Decades later, we still seek to share this intimate experience of the Bighorn with guests from all over the world.

From Executive Chef Frank’s culinary creations, to our world-class guides, to the special touches in your private cabin, every single aspect of your stay is calculated.

We realize there are numerous places to stay on the Bighorn and in the surrounding valley, we are inviting you to take part in something that goes far beyond what you have already imagined.

With many repeat guests who continue to return season after season, we realize what they are after: the desire to escape into the Forrester’s state of-mind, to experience a vacation filled with peak moments, vivid memories and complete satisfaction.

So, come stay with us at Forrester’s, it may be your first, but we would hedge all bets, it won’t be your last.

Your Manager, Francine Forrester

With decades of experience in the hospitality industry, culinary studies and gardening for the kitchen, co-owner Francine Forrester is also a Certified Naam Yoga teacher, Senior Harmonyum and Kabbalah Practitioner. Francine feels confident that you will be nourished inside and out while visiting the ranch, and she's grateful to be able to share all of the things she loves with you!

Your manager


  • Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing

  • Types of water

  • Rivers you can fish on

    Bighorn River.
  • Types of Fish

    Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout.
  • Fishing Experience Level

    Beginner, Intermediate, Experienced
  • Guided Fishing Included in rates

  • Unguided Fishing not available

  • Fishing Instruction Included in rates

  • You can borrow

    Rods, Flies, Reels, Boots, Waders.
  • You can buy

    Rods, Flies, Reels, Boots, Hats, Waders.
  • Bring your own

    Rods, Flies, Reels, Boots, Hats, Waders, Fishing Nets.

The Setting

Perched in the hills just above the Bighorn River, Forrester's Bighorn River Resort offers an incredible journey into the most breathtaking vistas and views that Bighorn has to offer.

At our deluxe Montana fly fishing and wingshooting lodge, be prepared to embark on unforgotten excursions into thousands of acres of countryside and private riverbanks.

These lands are teeming with fish and fowl alike, and our Orvis-endorsed guides are ready to show to you to our prime hunting and fly fishing areas.

Spend your days in the untamed Montana foothills and return to the lodge for a sumptuous dining experience.

The Fishing

We're the only Orvis-endorsed lodge with owners that are active, involved and on-property every day.

Forrester's Bighorn River Resort is the only lodge with on-property access to the Bighorn River's prime fishing waters with only ¼ mile transit to the launch on the river.

We offer the widest variety of sporting services in the area, including guided fly fishing, guided upland bird and guided water fowl hunting.

With a view like no other in the Bighorn River area, from your private Forrester's Bighorn cabin, you'll look out onto the beautiful Bighorn River framed by our majestic Montana Mountains and foothills.


  • Enjoy

  • Meals served

    scheduled meals
  • Alcohol

  • Enjoy dining in

    dining room (casual attire)
  • You'll definitely love

    fresh daily bread, fresh daily desserts
  • Dietary restrictions catered for

    lactose intolerant, vegans, vegetarians, Gluten free

Menus are typically based around the current season, so you will be treated to a taste of uniquely robust flavors no matter when you visit.

We serve three gourmet meals each day, with each one being a veritable feast. We are famous for our breakfasts, which include fluffy blueberry pancakes, thick-cut, honey-cured bacon and our exclusive blend of organic coffee.

Lunch is served streamside or in the field, allowing you to enjoy the splendor of Bighorn while enjoying a hearty meal.

For dinner, we are dedicated to creating meals that exemplify a perfect balance between luxury and comfort.

And if you bring us your catch after a successful day of fishing, we will be happy to prepare it for you!



Your Chef, Frank Kerstetter

After 40 years of cooking, I consider myself a lucky man because I still love what I do every day. The saying might seem a little clichéd, but it has held true for me all these years:

You will never work a day in your life if you love what you do”.

I am here at Forrester’s Bighorn River Resort for a reason. I’ve been through the high end fast pace lunch and dinner restaurants. But I really just want to COOK!

I love 'building' plates, a beautiful plate is a celebration of many things: a respect for food, skill and knowledge; a certain amount of care and passion. A moment in time, creativity, style, a gift, heart; it’s a celebration of the relationship between flavors and textures and glimpse into the soul of the one who created it.

“A beautiful plate is the celebration that cannot be without love and passion, but is nothing unless it is shared.”

I’m always looking to enhance our guests' experiences when they dine at the Lodge. I present them with something new and different, an unexpected, even at times whimsical experience without a feeling of pretension or stuffiness.

It may be refined, yet at other times downright rustic, but I hope always fun and engaging.

Your dining experience is a culmination of all of the experiences I have had, from each person and restaurant I’ve worked in every single day.

“From thought to table”, it is my pleasure to serve you and hope you come away from the table pleased and contented!



  • Address

    40.754 Hwy 313
    Fort Smith
  • Remote Location

  • Elevation

    3,288' ft

Nearest Town - Fort Smith, Montana

Fort Smith, Montana has a population of 160 (approx), and is situated Quarter Mile miles / 15 mins from the Ranch.

Facilities in Fort Smith, Montana include: post office, atm, gas station.

Nearest Airports

Billings-Logan International Airport, Hardin, Montana


87 Miles miles / 1 hour 30 mins


Delta, United, Allegiant, Alaska, Cape Air


  • Nightly Rates (per adult)*

    $650 - $790
  • Minimum Stay

    No minimum stay
  • Preferred Arrival Day

    Any day is fine
  • Preferred Departure Day

    Any day is fine
  • Style of accommodation

    Western rustic chic
  • Packages available

    2 night, 3 night, 4 night, 5 night, 6 night
* Rates will vary based on Season and Accommodation selection. Please contact the ranch directly for Date Request, Availability and exact Rate quote/proposal

Forrester's Bighorn River Resort can cater for up to 17 guests. See below for details and indicative rates.

Cabin | Cabin

Rates (Per Person)*

$650 - $790
* Rates will vary based on Season and Accommodation selection. Please contact the ranch directly for Date Request, Availability and exact Rate quote/proposal

Minimum Stay

No minimum


Stay in our personal, private cabins for guest accommodations and relax in the cozy gathering space in our main lodge.


Private deck

Personal bathroom

Wireless Internet

In-room phone


Coffee maker

Organic coffee and teas

Sodas and juices

Unforgettable memories




Private bathroom


fridge, hair dryer, air conditioning

Booking Policy

A 50% deposit is required to hold your reservation.

Payment in full is due 60 days prior to the date of your trip.

If you are unable to arrive as planned, we will refund your total deposit less a $200 handling fee if we are notified within 90 days of your reserved date and are able to fill your canceled reservation.

Parties who arrive with fewer members than are actually booked will be charged for the number of guests booked at the time of reservation.

No adjustments will be made for early departures.

Credit cards are accepted in the Pro Shop only.



Gratuities are at your discretion. The following are standard guidelines. For guides, we suggest $100 per guest, per day. We prefer that you tip the guides directly. For lodge staff, we suggest $35 to $50 per guest, per day. This can be left with your final bill.


  • Communications

    Wireless Internet/Wifi, telephone.
  • Cell Networks

    verizon. Nemont.
  • Business Services

    Conference center.



Shop for all of your fly fishing and hunting necessities in our Orvis Pro Shop.

Outdoor Activities

sporting clays

Water based Activities

river floating

Additional Services

Corporate Retreats

For groups of 20-30.

When you book one of our corporate packages, your company of 10 or more become guests in our world, aka Planet Bighorn, and things are quite different here.

Our corporate excursions give your team and your clients the entire run of the place. No one else is booked during your time. 

Undeniably, your team will thoroughly enjoy fishing, hunting, relaxing with your feet up, and taking in the majestic landscape, etc.

You also need truly impressive cuisine and humble and gracious service.



Local Attractions

Bighorn Lake Pontoon Floats

Enjoy a full day or just an evening on the incredibly beautiful Bighorn Canyon Lake. Nature abounds - and you may even see a bear or two with their cubs!


127 miles / 2 hours 45 mins

Local History

From the National Park Service's Little Bighorn Battlefield, to Plenty Coups State Park, there are ample parks and museums nearby to take in the incredible stories of:

The US Calvary

The Indian Wars

The Bozeman Trail

Lewis and Clark

The culture of the Crow Nation

And even prehistoric pictographs

We can provide you with information about these and more.


  • Based right on the Bighorn River, Forrester's location offers one of the largest concentrations of wild Browns and Rainbow trout in the west. You can expect to land fish in the 18-22" range! Step out of your private cabin, walk to the river and spend time catching big fish.
  • Aside from fly fishing, the lodge offers a truly unique experience: high-country excursions to one of their remote outpost camps in the Cloud Peak Wilderness.
  • You'll be in truly safe hands with people who genuinely care: Forrester's is the only Orvis-endorsed lodge with owners that are active, involved and on property every day. Owners Nick, a wildlife biologist and Francine Forrester, an executive chef, are both are there and working hard every day to make sure you have the experience of a lifetime.
  • The cuisine comes highly recommended and regarded, with three gourmet meals being served per day, in tune with the season's offerings. At lunch you'll enjoy dining streamside or in the field, allowing you to enjoy the splendor of Bighorn while enjoying a hearty meal. And if you bring the chef your catch after a successful day of fishing, they will happily prepare it for you to enjoy!
  • Forrester's Bighorn is the only Orvis-endorsed resort to offer guests private, fully-appointed log cabins with private, in-room telephones and complimentary WiFi – for those times when you need to work remotely and reconnect with the outside world. Forrester's Bighorn River Resort is also the only lodge with on-property access to the Bighorn River’s prime fishing waters.


  • The river itself has a lot of green vegetation growth, so you may spend a lot of time cleaning your flies.
  • The shop is has a limited selection and is primarily Orvis products, so do come prepared.

Visitor Reviews

Dont just take our word for it, see what visitors like you say...

Successful Fly Fishing & Fabulous Food

After years of deep sea fishing on the east coast, I wasn't too sure about my husbands suggestion to go fly fishing on a river in Montana. My husband has been to Forrester's several times and assured me that it would be a great experience. I have to say he was right, it was a great experience but that was because Nick and Francine go above and beyond to provide exceptional service. The accomodations were a nice urban rustic, the food was fabulous 5 star dining and the Chef took great care to provide delicious gluten-free options for me. Our fishing guide, Cody, was awesome! He provided guidence and a fun, successful fly fishing experience. The resort is beautiful, peaceful and has lovely views.

5 stars

You can find more reviews for Forrester's Bighorn River Resort on TripAdvisor