In the Rockies, spring to summer transition brings warming temperatures and snowmelt. The Gallatin River, due to its glacial origins, degrades into sediment-rich whitewater, making it unfishable through the early weeks of June.
However, this annual flushing is crucial for ecological functions and helps in redistributing nutrients and scouring silt to bolster Montana trout and insect production.
Salmonflies start to emerge as the water begins to drop and clear, sometime in late June, signifying the start of the summer fly fishing season on the Gallatin.
Salmonflies, Golden Stones, Green Drakes, Caddis, Yellow Sallies, and PMDs start to show up in late June. The river is still high but starts to drop and clear as the month progresses.
Anglers fishing during the Salmonfly hatch can expect sporadic success between the Gallatin Canyon and Big Sky, depending on water conditions.
In June, experienced anglers can still find fish in the river's side channels, braids, back eddies, and slower corners.
Fishing with heavy Stonefly and San Juan Worm nymph rigs, tight to the bank will find a few hungry trout in the high water.
Fishing big dries along the bank produce explosive strikes from large Brown and Rainbow Trout once the Salmonflies start to emerge in late June.
In late July, fishing on the Gallatin River can be some of its best through the Canyon near Big Sky, MT. When the color of the river reaches a gin-green, we like to fish a large Henry's Fork Salmonfly #6 with a darker colored nymph pattern 4' below like a Prince Nymph #10-12 along the banks.
With over two decades of outfitting Montana fly fishing trips, we guide clients to quality fishing all summer long regardless of conditions on the main Gallatin River. As snowmelt degrades the Gallatin in June, we shift our Montana fly fishing trips to the Madison and Missouri Rivers.
The Madison River fishing picks up in early June, peaking towards the third week of June as the Salmonfly hatch begins. This is one of our busiest times of the year, so we encourage guests to book ahead to ensure availability.
Our seasoned guides offer guided Missouri River fishing trips between late April and mid-June. This tailwater fishery is an excellent alternative to fishing the Gallatin during the runoff season around Bozeman.