The Gallatin River originates as a small mountain stream in Yellowstone National Park and transforms into a medium-sized, western river below Big Sky, Montana. The river flows through the Gallatin Canyon, featuring swift pocket water and idyllic trout runs for the fly angler. Known for its clean, cold water, the Gallatin provides exceptional fly fishing in Montana, near Bozeman.
The Gallatin River offers over 75 miles of quality trout water, accessible at numerous roadside turnouts along HWY 191 and throughout the Gallatin Valley. The river joins the Jefferson and Madison Rivers to form the Missouri River, near Three Forks, Montana.
“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.
Follow the river's journey through Yellowstone National Park to Big Sky, where the river begins its course. Breathtaking scenery surrounds the angler fishing these clear, cold waters filled with wild Rainbow Trout, Cutthroat Trout, and Brown Trout.
The river is small and easy to wade here, meandering through the headwater valley teaming with wildlife. Willow-lined banks and endless meanders create fantastic holding water.
The Taylor Fork joins the Gallatin River a few miles downstream of the YNP boundary. The river gradient and flows increase, creating the long, shallow riffles and runs that typify Montana fishing for anglers from around the world.
The Gallatin River narrows above Big Sky and widens again with the confluence of the West Fork. Downstream of Big Sky, the Gallatin Canyon begins and offers plenty of public access and year-round fly fishing opportunities.
The canyon is home to abundant fish numbers, thanks to the cold, clean water and diverse insect life. Witness exceptional fly fishing in Montana with dry flies during the late June Salmonfly hatch and evening PMD spinner falls.
The river moves fast through the Gallatin Canyon, with boulders, drop-offs, deep pools, and long riffles. The most effective fishing techniques involve fine tippets with small nymphs or dry flies, accurately cast into likely holding water.
The river flows through the Gallatin Valley in long meanders lined with Cottonwood Trees, surrounded by agricultural lands teaming with wildlife. Sections near Gallatin Gateway and downstream of the confluence with the East Gallatin River offer the best Gallatin River fishing near Bozeman.
Despite increasing development and Bozeman’s rapid growth, the Gallatin River continues to be a premiere Montana fly fishing destination with healthy Rainbow and Brown Trout populations.
Floating the Gallatin River between Manhattan and Three Forks offers remarkable fly fishing in Montana. Large Rainbow and Brown trout thrive here in the summer and walk-in access is extremely difficult.
The Gallatin Canyon stretches of the river see blanket hatches of Midges and Blue-Winged Olives during April on overcast days. Fishing improves as the weather warms in late April...Read More
Expect great conditions in early May for pre-runoff Gallatin River fishing with tandem nymph rigs and streamers. The river becomes unfishable with the runoff conditions in mid-May...Read More
Salmonfly and Golden Stone hatches explode in late June as the river starts to clear and drop in flows. Gallatin River fishing during June is best upstream of Gallatin Gateway...Read More
Primetime fishing on the Gallatin can be found throughout July. Summer hatches and ideal water conditions bring effortless Montana fly fishing success to anglers of all skill levels...Read More
As the August sun bathes the landscape, target trout in the clear waters using fine tippet and long leaders. An angler’s paradise with mid-day surface eats and slow risers at dusk...Read More
September brings cooler weather and a changing landscape alive with the colors of autumn. Gallatin River fishing is increasingly productive with streamers throughout its course...Read More
With over two decades of expertise, Fins and Feathers Guide Service offers custom-tailored Gallatin River fishing day trips.
Float and wade the valley sections or join us below Manhattan for solitude and large, Montana fish while floating the Gallatin River.
Our Bozeman fly fishing guides target the lower river, below its confluence with the East Gallatin, from mid-July through September as our primary Gallatin River fishing destination.
Stay informed with our Gallatin River fishing reports from our Bozeman fly fishing guides’ latest adventures.
Our Montana fishing reports for the Gallatin River focus on the stretches of the river Between Big Sky and Three Forks, Montana. Count on updates regarding the current hatches and be sure to check out our recommended Gallatin River webcams after heavy rains.
From water conditions to recommended fly patterns, Fins and Feathers provides timely updates for your Gallatin River fishing success