Description: My Forrester's Bighorn River Resorts adventure starts with a combination fishing and hunting trip or 'cast and blast' at the Resort. The resort itself is a collection of eight log buildings built in 1996 by Nick, Francine and their guides. The main lodge is large and comfortable with an Orvis fly shop, guest loft, professional kitchen and dining room. The seven guest cabins are situated along the rim of the valley overlooking the wide, patient Bighorn River.
Nick and Francine entertain up to 14 guest at a time, a number that results in personalized service in every detail. One evening during my stay Francine adds Maker's Mark Whiskey to her Indian Pumpkin soup, a nod to some guests from Tennessee. Another morning Nick arranges a day on the Bighorn for a couple of guests who suddenly feel like fishing instead of going on their planned hunt.
A member of the Tennessee contingent sums up his experience in a long satisfied drawl ' I've been coming to the Forrester's for seven years. I have never had a bad meal And I have never not got my limit.' It is an endorsement as heartfelt as it is understated.
The next morning, my partner and I head out with Lon, a Crow guide with a truck full of Brittanies and a rich knowledge of the land and its history. The drive across the reservation to the Forrester's private lease land take 40 minutes, and Lon makes it enjoyable; pointing out the cavalry battlefields, explaining geological features, laughing politely at our jokes.
When we arrive at the hunting spot, I step from the truck and scan the area. Wheat fields and grassland veined by thick coulees stretch south to the Wolf mountains and west to the distant snow-capped rim of the Bighorns. It's such fine habitat I get 'birdy' as a year-old pointer just looking at it.
Directions: Forrester's Bighorn River Resorts is located near Fort Smith. From Billings, take Interstate 90 east to Hardin (from the airport follow 27th Street to the Interstate). Take the Hardin exit and turn right; you're now on Highway 313 South. From there, follow the signs to Xavier. At Xavier, turn left at the Fort Smith/Yellowtail Dam sign (staying on Highway 313, do not cross the Bighorn River). You will be traveling along the Bighorn River and follow Highway 313 for another 17.1 miles. The Bighorn River Resort is on the right side of the road, just before you get to Fort Smith. Look for the log lodge and fly shop, and log guest cabins overlooking the Bighorn River.