|.............................Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park
I am calling this series Yellowstone Journals and Additional Information. It is a collection of a
rambling mixture of experiences on the streams with some notes, tips and additional
information thrown in. Some of this comes from my video tape logs (record of video shot)
and notes made on my daily note books.
Fly Fishing the Gallatin River - Part 1
The Gallatin River is the picture perfect small trout stream. Most of it inside
Yellowstone National Park flows through meadows with mountains surrounding it
beautiful water on both sides of the valley. The Madison Range is to the West
and the Gallatin Range to the East of the river. The river winds back and forth
some but all in all, the valley through which the river flows is fairly narrow. It
declines at a good rate to keep the water moving fast, but it is not turbulent
The river begins from a small lake, Gallatin Lake, high in the mountains above
timberline. It flows for several miles at a steep rate of decline according to the
topo maps. Several small tributaries join it before it reaches a meadow at the
foot of the mountains. The only part of much interest to anglers is the lower mile
or two before the river reaches highway 191.
Fishing in the upper meadows is not all that great in our opinion. We have
fished it a few times and have caught some small trout, mostly cutbows, but
much better water is found downstream. There is usually not anyone fishing the
headwaters off the highway in the upper meadows and that is probably the
reason. The stream runs rather small in this area probably averaging only
fifteen feet wide or less. The banks are lined with heavy grass and some short
willows but it is most open area. The water is usually at least a couple of feet
below the banks.
As I said yesterday, we have not fished above the upper meadows. It is about
ten or twelve miles from that point (river wise) to Gallatin Lake. You can follow
the stream by going up the Bighorn Pass Trail according to my GPS maps. It
does not follow the stream closely along its banks. You would probably have a
short hike from the trail to the stream. Based on the number and size of the trout
in the upper meadows, I just don't see the steeper part of the stream having
many fish or at least many of any size. That is only a guess. We haven't fished it.
Copyright 2009 James Marsh