Gallatin River

This scenic river is plentiful with smaller fish, mostly rainbows averaging 8 to 12 inches, with the occasional 16 to 20-inch brown trout. A full or half day walk-n-wade trip on this fertile freestone river with Trout On The Fly is a great option for most anglers.

Yellowstone National Park is where the Gallatin comes to life. Starting as a small stream in the backcountry 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 from 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 in this area, it is not uncommon to see grizzly bears or a mamma moose.

From the Park Line to Big Sky, the Gallatin River picks up a major tributary, the Taylors Fork, about 3 1/2 miles below the Yellowstone National Park line. During runoff or any major rain storm during the summer, the Taylors Fork can discharge mud making the downriver Gallatin water unfishable, sometimes for days. But 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. Because of the multiple access areas in the Canyon section, the fishing pressure can be high.

The Gallatin Valley, from Spanish Creek tributary to the headwaters of the Missouri River, is an open valley surrounded by farmland. 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!

When fishing the Gallatin River we recommend anglers be willing to walk up or down river from the public access locations to avoid other anglers.

The Conditions at
Gallatin River

River Discharge

Hatch Chart

  • “I just wanted to let you know how much Ken (my son) and I enjoyed our guided trip experience with Matt Hoff.  It was our first trip to the Bozeman area.  The whole experience with Matt was rated as one of the best trips that I have ever taken with a fly fishing guide. Matt was always prompt, knowledgeable, and hospitable.  We were always treated respectfully, most professionally, yet we felt like we were brothers.  Though there were instances of line tangles, lost flies, and missed strikes, we were never criticized or treated in an condescending way.  He had a way of making us try our best at all times, but never was there a negative comment made.  There were several instances of some impending dangerous weather and he was always concerned for our personal safety. His concern was for us and making sure that we had the best experience that we could have under the prevailing conditions.   He never mishandled any fish and was always concerned for a safe release. Lunches were great and equipment worked well.  In short, Ken and I had a "blast"!  The time went by way too quickly. We will certainly keep your outfit and Matt guiding in mind for any future trips to Bozeman. Again, thanks for the great experience. Our best regards always, Gary Cooper“
    Gary Cooper,
    Ventura, CA Anglers
  • “Tony met us at the rental shop and drove us to the area where we were going to fish. He made sure we had all the equipment we needed and even had provided most of it for us. AJ has experience with fly fishing but I do not. I felt very well guided and AJ learned some new things as well. Tony was patient and had a great laid back style that worked well with us. Tony was confident with his fly fishing knowledge and was very professional teaching me the basic skills. He also made safety a priority, which we appreciated. He had a great personality and both AJ and I had a great time! We would definitely fish with Tony and Trout on The Fly if we are ever in Montana again! And we would recommend you guys to anyone visiting Montana.“
    AJ & Julie,
    MI & WA Anglers
  • “I wanted to sincerely thank you for a great three days of fly fishing. Both Robert and I learned a great deal about the art of fly fishing. I especially appreciated your patience with me as it took me a little longer to catch on. Needless to say, we hope to be back to Montana one day and we will definitely get in touch with you. Thanks again. Sincerely, James“
    James Hallett,
    First time angler from South Carolina
  • “Nate used a scheduled day off to guide me and a buddy for an afternoon of fly fishing. He made it a memorable experience by instructing us with technique, leading us to and helping us land some beautiful trout in pristine water. Nate's knowledge of stream etymology is second to none. He is a skilled fly fishing guide, and for me, has set a standard against which all others will be judged.“
    Gary Noseworthy,
    New Market, NH