The East Gallatin River originates just to the east of downtown Bozeman and flows northwards until it joins the West Gallatin River near Manhattan, Montana. This small stream flows through the Gallatin Valley with public access limited to a few county bridges and public fishing access sites.
Gentle meanders create fantastic holding water for the wild, Montana trout in myriad deep pools, gentle glides, and shallow riffles.
The East Gallatin is renowned in Montana fly fishing circles for its excellent fishing and its convenient location near Bozeman.
Anglers fishing the East Gallatin should be especially mindful of private land ownership boundaries and strictly adhere to the Montana Stream Access Law.
“Have enjoyed the professional services and friendship with the Fins and Feathers team for a decade and a half. I just spent a week getting after it. Great times in the Gallatin, Upper Madison, and Channels. Thanks, team for a job well done. Anyone seeking "fishy guides" who are helpful, knowledgeable and fun... give em call. They are the best.”
- Mike B.
The upper portions of the East Gallatin River are considered to be upstream of Springhill Road and the Bozeman Water Treatment facility. The river is typically less than 20’ wide in this stretch and experiences seasonal fluctuations with runoff and irrigation demands.
Access is found through various county bridges along with the Cherry River FAS. The river is too small for any type of floating here but offers great wade-fishing opportunities for the mobile angler near Bozeman.
Hiking trails and residential development make this part of the river relatively busy with recreational traffic, but anglers can find solitude once they get away from access points.
The river gets a boost in nutrients along with an influx of water below the Water Treatment Plant near the N. 19th Avenue exit of 1-90. Public access is very limited in this stretch of the river, look to maps of the area for county bridges that afford limited access.
The river meanders through rural subdivisions and agricultural fields, growing in volume with incoming flows from small streams that drain the Bridger Mountains and several spring creeks.
Winter fishing during Midge hatches and late Summer Trico hatches provide a few hours of "match the hatch" dry fly fishing for the experienced angler that is comfortable wading through deep pools and the silt-filled streambed.
Public access improves downstream of Dry Creek Road as the river flows through larger agricultural holdings crisscrossed by several county roads with bridges spanning the stream.
Private spring creeks continue to feed the river and create improved fishing conditions throughout the lower section of the East Gallatin River. Water conditions can vary widely during the summertime with increased irrigation demands and runoff following afternoon thundershowers.
Streamer fly fishing through deep pools can produce some fantastic Brown Trout in the spring and fall. Reliable nymph fishing is found most days when hatches are sparse.
Early April BWO and Midge hatches on calm, overcast days bring pods of rising Rainbow and Brown Trout to the surface during mid-day.Read More
Expect high water and off-color water conditions throughout May as runoff descends across the region. Dropping water and clearing...Read More
As the river conditions improve in June, Montana fly fishing on the East Gallatin River turns into a dry fly angler's paradise as Caddis and PMD hatches...Read More
Early morning fly fishing near Bozeman on the East Gallatin River in July is a solid option for nymph fishing, with dry fly fishing improving through...Read More
Warm water temperatures and reduced flows create difficult conditions under the summer sun, but the Trico spinner fall near Dry Creek Road...Read More
Streamer fly fishing on the lower river, near Manhattan, Montana picks up with cooling weather and stable water condition as September...Read More
The Fins and Feathers Bozeman MT fishing reports cover waters with the best fly fishing near Bozeman. Current hatches, fly box recommendations, and advice from our Bozeman fly fishing guides are available for the Yellowstone, Madison, Missouri, and Gallatin Rivers.
Be sure to check out our Montana fishing reports before you head out to your favorite destination for a day of fly fishing in Montana.
River overviews and access maps highlight our reports with real-time streamflow data too.