Planning Your Fly-fishing Trip To Yellowstone
|........................... ......................Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park
When to Come and What To Expect:
Fly Fishing: Outside Yellowstone National Park - July - Gallatin River
(Outside Yellowstone National Park)
The Gallatin River is one of the coldest rivers in Yellowstone National Park. It is one of
the last streams to turn-on, so to speak. U. S. Highway #191 follows closely along the
river just about its entire length. It doesn't clear up from the spring runoff until around
the first of July. It can stay muddy a little longer so you want to make sure you check on
the condition prior to going in early July.
From the park boundary down to Big Sky, the Gallatin River runs through public
property. The water is similar to that in the park until it reaches Big Sky. It then goes
into a canyon section.
The canyon section of the Gallatin River is about fifteen miles long. It is a rough and
tumble section of fast moving water, with large boulders creating currents that are
difficult to fish in many places. Just about all the water in the canyon is pocket water.
The fish are larger than they are in the upper sections that consist mostly of riffles and
runs. There are few flat sections of water in the canyon. Seventy miles of this river is
closed to drift boats because of its rough character. There are many sections of white
Once the river comes out of the canyon, about a half dozen miles above Gallatin
Gateway, it completely changes. It becomes much slower moving with a lot of long runs
between large pools. Much of the water is smooth but there are a few rough sections
along the way. It contains larger trout than you will find upstream of this section. This
section flow primarily through private land. Access is found mostly at bridges. The
section between Gallatin Forks and Three Forks can be fished from a drift boat. It has
little access from the road for wading anglers.
You will need to fish the river different, depending on the section you are fishing. In
general, the canyon section is best fished with nymphs and streamers. There are a few
places and times dry fly fishing is good in the month of July in the canyon but most of
the time subsurface flies work better.
The section above the canyon can be waded or fished from a drift boat. It has some
excellent dry fly fishing from about the second week of July throughout the rest of the
month. The fish are just not as large as they are in the canyon or below the canyon.