Trout On The Fly

The Gallatin River

Gallatin River Rainbow

Yellowstone National Park is where the Gallatin comes to life. Starting as a small stream in the back country from Gallatin Lake, here the Gallatin makes its way through some of the most scenic country. Increasing in size as it picks up cold snow melted tributaries along the way, this gin clear glacier boulder field stretch is home to rainbows, browns, and the occasional Yellowstone cutthroat eager to take your hopper in the summer months. Be sure to bring your bear spray when fishing this area, it is not uncommon to see grizzly bears or a mamma moose.

From the Park Line to Big Sky the Gallatin picks up a major tributary, the Taylors Fork, about 3½ miles below the Yellowstone National Park line. During run off, or any major rain storm during the summer, the Taylors Fork can puke mud making the Gallatin down river unfishable, sometimes for days. When conditions are right you can pick away at each glacier boulder, most of which are holding trout!

North, or downstream, of Big Sky, Montana, the canyon is a popular spot for all recreation, including rafting, and kayaking. With a high fish count per mile and plenty of public access this can be a nice place to wet a line! Just remember to be courteous to rafters and kayakers by waiting to cast, or stepping out of the river while they pass through.

The Gallatin Valley, from Spanish Creek tributary to the headwaters of the Missouri River, is an open valley surrounded by farm land. Cottonwood trees, which line the banks of some sections, protect the river from those windy days. Braided channels and slower moving water make this an ideal area for walk-n-wade trips, and the Gallatin’s deep pools and distinct runs in this stretch can produce larger trout!