Gallatin River Fly Fishing Guides & Lodges
Discover the secrets of fishing the Gallatin, Madison, and Yellowstone with Montana's top guides. Montana Angler Fly Fishing offers guided trips and world class lodging packages on the Gallatin River and other legendary waters. Outfitter #10770.
The Gallatin River begins at Gallatin Lake, which is located high in
the mountains of the Gallatin Range in Yellowstone
National Park, and flows for 115 miles to its end at the beginning
of the Missouri
River in Three Forks. Throughout its length, the Gallatin River offers
a very wide variety of water, excellent river access, relatively low
fishing pressure and gorgeous scenery.
The Gallatin River runs for more than twenty-five miles in Yellowstone
National Park. While in the park, floating on the river is not permitted
and special fishing regulations apply. After the river leaves Yellowstone
National Park, it flows predominantly through public lands for the next
forty-miles. Since a highway closely follows the river this entire distance,
access is excellent. All an angler has to do to fish in the upper section
of the Gallatin (above Spanish Creek) is to pull over to the side of
the road and go.
Once the Gallatin River leaves Yellowstone National Park, the river
flows through very mountainous country, with steep mountains towering
above the river. Extensive whitewater stretches are found on the Gallatin
River, particularly downstream from the town of Big Sky. The Gallatin
River for much of its length is not a very large river. As a result,
float fishing on the Gallatin River from Yellowstone National Park downstream
to the confluence with the East Gallatin River is not allowed, a distance
of more than seventy-miles.
Since the bulk of the Gallatin River is closed to float fishing (but
not recreational floating), the Gallatin is a dream come true for wade
anglers who are frustrated by having to share the water with lines of
rafts. Coupled with the excellent access found in the upper half, the
Gallatin ranks as one of the finest wade fishing rivers in Montana, perhaps
second only to Rock
After traveling for more than forty miles through mountainous
terrain, the Gallatin River leaves the mountains behind as it spills
out into a broad, scenic valley, which also contains the town of Bozeman.
Once the Gallatin River leaves the mountains, it begins to flow primarily
through private land. While a number of access sites do exist, access
is significantly more difficult on this section.
The flows of the river also slow significantly once the Gallatin River
leaves the mountains. Due to slower flows and heavy irrigation use, the
water in the Gallatin River on its lower stretches frequently become
quite warm, hampering trout reproduction and putting a lid on feeding
Thirty miles after leaving the mountains, the Gallatin River meets up
with the East Fork Gallatin River, which adds significantly to its flows.
From this point downstream to the beginning of the Missouri
River, the Gallatin is open to float fishing. Access is spotty along
this stretch, as the river flows almost exclusively through private land
and access sites are quite scattered.
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