Gallatin River near Manhattan, Montana
Born from a tiny lake underneath the Three Rivers Peak the Gallatin River drops 1,400 feet in its first 7 miles (that’s 200 a mile). Not many people fish this upper part for that reason. Most of the fishing pressure starts when it enters a narrow valley when it levels out for 5 miles. This section contains decent rainbows, cutthroat, and browns up to 16 inches that like to hide under undercut banks. If you want to be able to fish without seeing another people but also don't want to have to climb cliffs the best place for you is near the confluence of the Obsidian and Indian Creeks. As the river exits Yellowstone and flows into Montana it enters a small canyon which makes the start of the next 50 miles or so of river that is known for flowing over boulders, under banks, and to the side of over everything else with enough vigor to keep things interesting. There is a small exception of a few meadows that make their homes in this section. This section contains good fishing so there is lots of fishing pressure but it is mostly spread out so you should not have a problem. At Cinnamon Station the river enters another small canyon that is just about 3 miles long where there are chutes and plunge pools that hold big fish. The canyon then opens into a valley named the lower basin which the tourist town of Big Sky resides. It is here the main branch of the river meets west branch. As soon as the waters meet they pick up speed and drops through a 22 mile canyon. It’s true the water look pretty here not many big fish are found here9 there are little fish of about 1 foot if you want). US 191 marks the start of some of the best fishing in the whole river. This part of the river is known for its slower water and gravel runs that lead to little pools that carve out banks which make perfect home of the really nice rainbows, cutthroat, and cuttbows (mix of the two) that make this section home. Sadly this cannot last and is just about done once it hits the bridge over the river near Gallatin Gateway. Here dewatering to satisfy agriculture needs hurts the fishery enough that you won’t miss anything if you skip this section. Once the East Branch enters the river it gains the feel of a western river for about 10 miles where it is known for its large rainbows found in riffles and its big browns (this is the first time browns show up in numbers) under cut banks. The best way to fish this section is with a drift boat. Matching the hatch is not super important here. The best flies are Blue Winged Olives in the spring and fall. Pale Morning Duns and terrestrials work the best in summer. Of course the usual streamers and nymphs are good. One last note; if the runoff is mostly gone by the end of June and early July there is a fantastic bite on salmon flies. Good luck fishing!
Gallatin River Fishing near Manhattan, Montana
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Details for Gallatin River
Species Caught Here:
Access: Public Property
Body of Water Type: Stream
Lat/Long: 45.937984 -111.491913
Bodies of Water near Gallatin River
Description for Gallatin River, Gallatin County, Montana
Gallatin River is a stream located just 9.5 miles from Manhattan, in Gallatin County, in the state of Montana, United States, near Gallatin (historical), MT. Fishermen will find a variety of fish including brown trout, cutthroat trout and rainbow trout here. Whether you’re spinning, fly fishing or baitcasting your chances of getting a bite here are good. So grab your favorite fly fishing rod and reel, and head out to Gallatin River. Alternate names for this stream include Gallatin Fork, Cut-tuh-o-gwa and West Gallatin River.
For Fishing License purchase, fishing rules, and fishing regulations please visit Montana Fish & Wildlife
Please remember to check with the local Fish and Wildlife department to ensure the stream is open to the public. Now get out there and fish! Check out our Fishing Times
chart to determine when the fish will be most active.
Fishing Hot Spots near Gallatin River
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