Gallatin River Overview

Considered by many to be one of the prettiest trout rivers in a state littered with incredible trout water, the Gallatin River is a fantastic mountain river that has its birthplace deep in the backcountry of some of Yellowstone’s highest peaks. A true freestone river, named in July 1805 by Meriwether Lewis after U.S. Treasure Secretary Albert Gallatin, the Gallatin is fast, rocky, and cold, making it a great place for a variety of trout to call home. The Gallatin winds out of some high mountain meadows in the Park before it begins its frantic race northwards, through beautiful Gallatin Canyon, onto its confluence with the Madison and Jefferson at Three Forks, to form the mighty Missouri.



Yellowstone Backcountry

The Gallatin’s small and intimate nature, at the foot of Mount Holmes, makes it a favorite for hiking anglers looking to maximize fishing time with hiking time. The meadow character of this stretch lends to some surprisingly large Rainbows and Hybrids that hide under the cutout banks. Look for a great Green Drake hatch on this stretch, and superb terrestrial fishing.

Yellowstone and HWY 191

Within this 12-mile stretch the Gallatin begins to grow into its river like nature, capturing a number of fine tributaries to add to its volume. A mixture of Rainbow, two species of Cutthroat, hybrids, and Browns all call this stretch home. Still maintaining some meadow like character, this stretch begins to gain some of its velocity that it reaches as it spills through the rest of the Gallatin Canyon. Look for some of the river's best hatches within the Park stretches.

Montana and HWY 191

As the Gallatin leaves Yellowstone it enters Montana and tumbles quickly through a narrow canyon. Large boulders, fast runs, and pocket water dominate this incredible stretch. The Gallatin is lined with pine trees and cliffs that come right to the river’s edge. Fish are everywhere an angler would expect them to be, and the wade angler will be delighted with the abundance of both the dry and nymph fishing.


Baetis on Lamson_1_Apr_2009.jpg

Salmonflies: June 20th - July 10th

Goldenstone: June 20th - July 15th

Yellow Sallies: July 1st - August 10th

Pale Morning Duns: July 1st - July 31st

Hydropsyche Caddis: July 1st - August 15th

Terrestrials: August 1st - September 30th

Baetis Mayflies: August 15th - September 30th

Spruce Moths: July 15th - August 15th

Special Notes

The Gallatin River is a fantastic wade fishing stream that offers anglers several unique fishing opportunities. Often overlooked are some of its fantastic tributaries which can provide great fishing and solitude. Felt sole boots and a wading staff are very important when exploring the Gallatin’s rocky spirit. Also an interesting note; the Gallatin contains the greatest diversity of aquatic insect life of any of the rivers in our region, including such insect soups as the Ranch and the Yellowstone in the Park.