Gallatin River

Big Sky, Montana

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1 Review
5 out of 5
Short take: Lots of trout, and great for beginners on upper section. Fish become larger and angling more challenging downriver. Running more than 100 miles from its headwaters—a little creek running out of the northwest quadrant of Yellowstone National Park—the Gallatin joins the Missouri just north of its origin, the union of the Madison and the Jefferson at Trident. In between are open riffles, roaring canyon cataracts, and miles and miles of cobble-bedded runs, turns, and pools, shadowed for most of the river’s length by U.S. Highway 191. The river holds something for anglers of all skill levels, from the greenest novice who’s yet to wet a wader, to the grizzled pro who’s been there and done that and plans to keep doing it forever. Roughly a third the size of the Yellowstone River, and without a major entrance to the national park at its headwaters, the valley of the Gallatin lacks the grandeur of its cousin to the east. Even during the height of summer’s tourist season, you may have sections of the river all to yourself, save an occasional drift boat or raft and kayak on the middle and lower mileage. Species: Rainbow, cutthroat, cuttbow, brown. Angling methods: spin, and fly-fishing.
America's 100 Best Trout Streams

DESCRIPTION FROM:

America's 100 Best Trout Streams

by John Ross (Falcon Guides)

Short take: Lots of trout, and great for beginners on upper section. Fish become larger and angling more challenging downriver. Running more than 100 miles from its headwaters—a little creek running out of the northwest quadrant of Yellowstone National Park—the Gallatin joins the Missouri just north of its origin, the union of the Madison and the Jefferson at Trident. In between are open riffles, roaring canyon cataracts, and miles and miles of cobble-bedded runs, turns, and pools, shadowed for most of the river’s length by U.S. Highway 191.

The river holds something for anglers of all skill levels, from the greenest novice who’s yet to wet a wader, to the grizzled pro who’s been there and done that and plans to keep doing it forever. Roughly a third the size of the Yellowstone River, and without a major entrance to the national park at its headwaters, the valley of the Gallatin lacks the grandeur of its cousin to the east. Even during the height of summer’s tourist season, you may have sections of the river all to yourself, save an occasional drift boat or raft and kayak on the middle and lower mileage. Species: Rainbow, cutthroat, cuttbow, brown. Angling methods: spin, and fly-fishing.

©  John Ross/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Fly-Fishing
Nearby City: Big Sky
Access: Easy
Season & Limits: Year-round
Local Maps: Montana DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer
Driving Directions: Directions to Gallatin River

Recent Trail Reviews

2/25/2005
0

The two most popular fishing sections are between Big Sky and Bozeman, and the stretch below West Yellowstone above Taylor Creek. The lower (Big Sky) section has canyons (including the one where the fishing scenes in A River Runs Through It were shot), bends, boulders, riffles, and pools -- classic pocket water. Anglers commonly fish a stretch, then jump into a car and drive a mile or two to the next one. Easy to do as the road from Four Corners to Yellowstone Park parallels the river almost the entire way. The upper stretch, though north of West Yellowstone, is a winding stream through the gravelly meadows so common in the Park. It's great for beginners - no bushes or trees to hook on your backcast. If you fish it remember that it's in the Park and requires a Park license to fish, separate from the Montana license. You'll rarely snag a trophy on the Gallatin, but it's full of trout and a picture-perfect setting almost everywhere.



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