Custer was named for General George Armstrong Custer, who was killed in 1876 at the famous Battle of the Little Big Horn. The town was started after Junction, a little village on the opposite bank of the Yellowstone River, was washed away by floodwaters. Custer was a freight station for traders bringing supplies to the Crow Indian Reservation. Earlier this spot had been a favorite campground for those traveling to and from Fort Custer, which had been established at the junction of the Bighorn and Little Bighorn Rivers. (from Cheney's Names on the Face of Montana, Mountain Press Publishing Company)
Custer is a friendly town along the Yellowstone River, where visitors can enjoy agate hunting. Floating the river allows recreationists to search the many sand and gravel bars along the shore as well as those exposed in midstream. Fishing is another popular pastime. Ling, the eel-like fish with the strange appearance and the delicious flavor of lobster, are caught in the Bighorn and Yellowstone rivers from the end of November to the end of February. Minnows and worms are the bait to use. Custer, just minutes away from the confluence of these two rivers, has many resident experts who can provide the angler with directions and tips.
Nearby, at the junction of the Bighorn and Yellowstone rivers, is the site of Fort Manuel Lisa, the first building in Montana built by white men. The Manuel Lisa fishing access is about 4.5 miles east of Custer. The area is about 34 acres of shady bottomland. Exit off I-94 at the Montana Highway 47 exit. Travel two miles east on the Frontage Road. Buffalo berry bushes offer tiny, ripened, orange-red berries in late August. Watch the thorns that protect each cluster.
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