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Gallatin River Fishing Report

Date: 04/18/2024
Posted by: Toby Swank

Fly fishing Montana's Gallatin River is one of the best options throughout the spring season. Being the closest blue-ribbon stream to Bozeman, MT, the Gallatin River offers many Montana anglers year-long fishing opportunities.

The river has increased nearly double over the last few days, this week's cooler weather should slow the effects of runoff, and the flows will drop, keep your eye on the USGS graphs for optimal angling opportunities. 

 Fly fishing has been best from Cameron Bridge FAS to Big Sky, MT, and the Canyon stretch provides good protection from windy conditions. Wild Montana fish are most actively feeding mid-day, when the Sun is at its highest points so no need to get up too early. It is a good idea to contact a local Bozeman fly shop for the most current info regarding stream conditions.

Using nymph imitations throughout the Gallatin Canyon towards Big Sky, MT is the most effective method of angling. Anglers are finding success using Montana staples like the Prince Nymph, Pat's Rubberleg, or Copper Johns. Drive south out of Gallatin Gateway, MT, and look for turnouts that provide easy access to water that is deep and moves slowly, these areas are stacked with wild Rainbow and Brown Trout right now. Be extra careful when wading around these large boulders especially when there is snow. Our Bozeman, MT fly fishing guides have found that purple worm patterns and black stoneflies have been great effective.

Fly fishing with streamers has been decent, especially on low light days. Small olive or black patterns like a McCune's Sculpin or a Crystal Bugger are getting attention. 

Fly fishing Yellowstone Park is closed for the season so make sure you are outside of park boundaries if you head this way. It is always a good idea to stop by fly shops in Bozeman, MT for some info and flies before heading out on the water.

You can get an idea of the water conditions in the Big Sky area by viewing this webcam, hosted by our friends at Montana Whitewater.

Gallatin River Fishing Report Streamflow

Click to enlarge


USGS CFS Data is not available for this date.

Montana fly fishing trips on the Gallatin River with the team at Fins and Feathers Guide Service focus on the lower stretches. Floating the lower Gallatin River offers access to blue-ribbon trout waters that receive much less angling pressure than the upper river. Hazardous obstructions in the river are constantly shifting, making floating here more challenging than other rivers near Bozeman.

Trophy Rainbow and Brown Trout are here for the experienced angler willing to streamer fly fish during early summer days. Novice anglers quickly improve their skills as our guides patiently coach them through the intricacies of reading water and fishing near structures on this wild stretch of river.

  • $675 for 1 or 2 Anglers Per Guide
  • Float Trips With Wading Opportunities
  • Use of All Fishing Equipment Is Included
  • Single And Multi-Day Trip Bookings Available
  • Meet In Bozeman, Four-Corners, Belgrade, or Manhattan
  • Book Online or Contact Us To Learn More

Montana Fishing Licenses

A Montana fishing license is required to legally fish in Montana. A Yellowstone National Park license is required to fish the Gallatin River within YNP

Lower Gallatin River Shuttle

Bob's Shuttle: 406-595-0587

Gallatin River Fishing

The Gallatin River starts small in YNP and becomes a medium-sized western river below Big Sky, Montana. It flows through Gallatin Canyon with swift pockets and fast runs. The river is known for its clean, cold water and offers over 75 miles of blue-ribbon trout water accessible at turnouts along HWY 191 and throughout the Gallatin Valley. The Gallatin River joins the Jefferson and Madison Rivers to form the Missouri River near Three Forks, Montana.

Read our "Gallatin River Fishing Guide" to learn more about fly fishing in Montana on the Gallatin River. It is a great resource for anglers fishing near Bozeman Montana and details the various river stretches and seasonal hatches with tips from our Bozeman fly fishing guides.