Fly fishermen and women from around the world travel to southwest Montana for its exceptional fishing opportunities. Fishing options are endless, but we offer a popular combination to our fishing guests that include floating and wading. The goal at Gallatin River Lodge is to provide professional expertise on all of our waters, always keeping in mind that you make the decisions on the type of fly fishing that you prefer. Venturing onto the river with an experienced fly fishing guide is key to an enjoyable and successful fishing trip. Our top-notch fly fishing guides help ensure that your fly fishing adventure is everything you expect... and much more.
Our Rivers are the Gallatin, Madison, Jefferson, Missouri and Yellowstone. We fish over seventy miles of each of these rivers and all are within an hour's drive of the Lodge. We also fish spring creeks such as DePuy's, Armstrong's, and Nelson's. In addition, many small streams, private water and stillwaters are nearby.
The Gallatin River is just a short 10 minute walk outside the door of the Montana fly fishing lodge, just across our hay meadows. The Gallatin flows over 90 miles with hundreds of small creeks adding to its flow. It heads from springs in Yellowstone Park and flows to Three Forks--the birthplace of the Missouri River. The three reaches are the Meadow, Canyon and Valley.
The Meadow stretch extends approximately 30 miles from Yellowstone Park to Big Sky. Riffles, runs, and pocket water characterize the Gallatin here. Rainbow, Brown, Cutthroat and Cuttbow hybrids inhabit this area.
The Canyon stretch extends about 25 miles through a narrow shaded rocky gorge. The classic river fishing scenes from "A River Runs Through It" directed by Robert Redford; based on the book by Norman McLean, were filmed in this section. Deeper runs, pools, and pocket water characterize this section. Browns, Rainbows, Whitefish, and Cuttbows are the predominant species here.
The Valley section contains 35 miles of classic western freestone water. The Gallatin River Lodge is in this section. Offering excellent wading for Browns and Rainbows, the river here is braided through mostly private ranch property. Larger Trout can be found in this section. Access is more limited than the upper sections. The lower reach of the river can be accessed by boat but all other areas cannot be fished from watercraft.
April and early May are excellent months to fish the Gallatin in Montana. We fish stonefly, attractor nymphs and streamer patterns. We also see consistent midge hatches and sporadic baetis hatches during these months. By late-May, runoff begins and the Gallatin usually is not fishable until mid-June.
Late June is salmon fly time on the Gallatin. July brings salmon flies, golden stones, caddis and PMD's. Attractor nymphs work well through out the summer months. August and September are hopper, caddis and attractor dry months. We also see a variety of mayfly hatches as we move into the fall. September and October are our favorite months on the Gallatin and streamers and nymphs are quite productive.
The Madison River is within 30 miles of the Montana Lodge. It contains three sections also: The Upper section in Yellowstone Park, the tailwater of Hebgen Dam and the tailwater of Ennis Dam. We fish the section below Hebgen to Ennis most of the year and the lower river in winter, spring and fall.
The upper river, although a tailwater, fishes more like a freestone river and has been described as a 50 mile riffle. Brown trout and Rainbow trout are the predominant species.
We float and wade fish the Madison as most areas of the river pass through private property over this stretch. April through mid-May we fish stonefly and attractor nymphs. Spring caddis and baetis hatches become more prolific beginning in mid-April. Late in May the river can occasionally become unfishable due to runoff. The famous Madison River offers one of the finest angling experiences in the world. Dry fly fishing is usually best in July, August and September. It is one of the best streamer rivers here and Trout up to 10 ponds have been taken by our guests!
The famous salmon fly hatch begins in late June. A variety of hatches occur throughout the summer including a variety of mayflies, stone flies and caddis. Hoppers and various attractor patterns work well through early September. Terrestrial, Streamer and Nymph fishing in September and October often produce some of the largest fish in the river for our anglers.
The lower river flows 45 miles through the Beartrap canyon to Three Forks and is one of the three rivers that form the Missouri River. It is a deep fast river through the canyon stretch. We float and wade the area of the lower Beartrap to within a few miles of its joining the Jefferson at the confluence. This tailwater offers consistent hatches in the spring including prolific caddis, midge and baetis. Large Browns and Rainbows inhabit this area. Mid to late June offers prolific stonefly hatches and some super fishing. Fall streamer fishing for big Browns and Rainbows often produces some of the biggest fish of the season here.
The Yellowstone River is a big western river just 30 miles east of the Lodge. It heads above Yellowstone Lake in the Bridger Teton country south of Yellowstone National Park and flows hundreds of miles to meet the Missouri River near North Dakota. It is the longest un-dammed river in the lower 48 states! Deep pools and runs characterize this great freestone river. We float fish the river from Yellowstone Park down to Big Timber--over 70 miles. Browns, Rainbows, Yellowstone Cutthroat and Whitefish are the predominant species.
The Yellowstone is open year-round to angling. Spring and fall months offer the most consistent hatches of stone flies, caddis, midges and mayflies such as baetis, drake, BWO and Sulphurs. Terrestrials and attractor fishing characterize summer angling. Drifting a large hopper pattern over good water often produces some of the largest fish in the river. The Yellowstone fishes well in the fall and offers some of the most spectacular views of our Montana scenery. Streamer and nymph fishing are productive until November.
MISSOURI & JEFFERSON RIVERS
The Jefferson River is formed by several famous rivers: The Ruby, Big Hole and Beaverhead. The Missouri section that we fish begins at Three Forks, the confluence of the Gallatin, Madison and Jefferson, and flows into Canyon Ferry reservoir. These rivers offer a secluded fishing experience and some spectacular scenery where Lewis and Clark traveled over 200 years ago. Classic freestone float fishing can be combined with wading side channels for large trout and even larger Carp! These rivers fish exceptionally well in the fall and can't be missed!
SPRING CREEKS / STREAMS / ALPINE LAKES
Many famous spring creeks are nearby: DePuy's, Nelson's, Armstrong's and the MZ ranch are all within 30 minutes of the Lodge. These spring Montana creeks are on private property and require an access rod fee of $75 to $100 per angler per day. These spring creeks offer challenging technical fishing. Landing a very selective 20 inch trout on 6X tippet is a very rewarding experience! Our Montana fly fishing guides are experienced with this type of fishing and can help improve your skills and focus on classic spring creek technique
Small streams, stillwaters and alpine lakes are nearby also. We can also make arrangements for horseback access trips to isolated Montana alpine lakes and back country streams in the area. Our guests also travel to Yellowstone National Park just an hour and a half away, and fish the numerous streams, lakes and rivers there.
Private Fly Fishing at The Lodge
Our own private pond and its Rainbows offer a great angling treat for many of Gallatin River Lodge guests. It also provides a great place to practice and is available for fly fishing schools and casting instruction.
We are also only a 2 1/2 hour drive from the Henry's Fork, Big Hole, Beaverhead, Boulder and Stillwater rivers. We do not typically fish these waters on our day trips but we can put you in touch with excellent guides on these rivers.
After an exciting day on the river you'll need a place to relax and unwind. We can help with that as well. The Gallatin River Lodge in Montana has a reputation as of the finest Montana fly fishing lodges anywhere.
Steve Gamble, Montana Outfitter License #240.