The Gallatin River Lodge is a quiet, secluded Montana fly fishing lodge located on the banks of the Gallatin River. Here you will experience Montana lodging and fly fishing at its very best. The lodge boasts some of Montana’s best guides and offers fly fishing trips on the Gallatin, Madison, Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers as well as numerous private waters and small streams. Gallatin River Lodge guides offers superb instruction, river float trips, and walk/wade trips. Just what you were looking for when you thought about visiting Montana on your next fishing trip!
Each of the lodge’s six guest rooms have Jacuzzi tubs, fireplaces and very comfortable furnishings.
Gallatin River lodge has three dining rooms. The Patio Dining Room was built in 2007 and has a twenty five-foot glass wall that offers a view of the beautiful Montana countryside. Guests will enjoy watching whitetail deer and other animals from this wonderful vantage point. The Main Dining room contains a perfectly restored 100-year old bar. The Back Dining Room is perfect for a private dinner or small meeting. Recently, the lodge expanded their extensive "Wine Spectator Award" winning wine list and also offer a top shelf bar to enhance your dining experience.
The Gallatin River is across the hay meadows… five minutes from the door of the lodge. The Gallatin River flows for over 90 miles with hundreds of small creeks adding to its flow. It begins with springs in Yellowstone Park and flows to Three Forks, the birthplace of the Missouri River, and encompasses three distinct sections, which are the Meadow, Canyon and Valley.
The Meadow stretch extends approximately 30 miles from Yellowstone Park to Big Sky and is characterized by riffles, runs, and pocket water. Rainbow, brown, cutthroat and cutt-bow hybrids inhabit this area. The Canyon stretch includes the next 25 miles where the river descends through a narrow shaded rocky gorge. The classic fishing scenes from "A River Runs Through It" directed by Robert Redford and based on the book by Norman McLean, were filmed in this section. Deeper runs, pools, and pocket water characterize this section. Browns, rainbows and cutt-bows are the predominant species here.
Below the Canyon, the Valley section contains 35 miles of classic western freestone water. The Gallatin River Lodge is located in this section. Offering excellent wading for browns and rainbows, the river here is braided through mostly private ranch property. Larger browns and rainbows can be found in this section. Access is more limited than with the upper sections. The last five miles 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. During these pre run-off months, anglers use mainly stonefly, attractor nymphs and streamer patterns. You'll 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 begins the salmonfly time on the Gallatin, which continues into July, when golden stones, caddis and PMD's need to be added to an angler’s fly box. Attractor nymphs work well throughout the summer months. August and September are hopper, caddis and attractor dry fly months. The Gallatin also sees a variety of mayfly hatches as it moves into the fall. October is one of our favorite months on the Gallatin and streamers and nymphs are quite productive.
In addition to the Gallatin River, you can fish some of the most legendary streams in Montana which are only a stone's throw from the lodge. they include:
MADISON RIVER - The Madison River is within 30 miles of the lodge. It contains three sections also: The upper section in Yellowstone Park, the tailwater below Hebgen Dam and the tailwater below 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 below Hebgen, although a tailwater, fishes more like a freestone river and has been described as a 50 mile riffle. Brown and rainbow trout are the predominant species, although West Slope cutthroat are also taken here.
Anglers float and wade fish the Madison as most areas of the river pass through private property in this stretch. April through mid-May require mainly stonefly and attractor nymphs patterns. Spring caddis and baetis hatches become more prolific beginning in mid-April. Late-May the river can occasionally become unfishable due to runoff. Beginning mid-June through August, the Madison offers one of the finest angling experiences in the world.
Its famous salmonfly hatch begins in early July. A variety of hatches occur throughout the summer including a variety of mayflies, stoneflies and caddis. Hoppers and various attractor patterns work well through early September. Terrestrials, streamer and nymph fishing in September and October often produce some of the largest fish in the river.
The lower river flows for 45 miles through the Beartrap Canyon to Three Forks and its confluence forming the Missouri River. It is a deep fast river through the canyon stretch. Our anglers 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, along with a few cutthroats. Mid to late June offers prolific stonefly hatches and some super fishing. Late July brings high water temperatures and anglers typically do not fish this section until early September. Fall streamer fishing for big browns and rainbows often produces some of the biggest fish of the season here.
YELLOWSTONE RIVER - The Yellowstone River is the prototypical big western river that flows just 30 miles east of the lodge. It headwaters begin above Yellowstone Lake in the Bridger Teton country south of Yellowstone National Park. The Yellowstone then flows hundreds of miles to meet the Missouri River near North Dakota. Deep pools and runs characterize this impressive freestone river. Gallatin River Lodge anglers float fish the river from Yellowstone Park down to Big Timber, a distance of over 70 miles. Browns, rainbows and cutthroat are the predominant species.
The Yellowstone is open year-round to angling. The spring and fall months offer the most consistent hatches of stoneflies, caddis, midges and mayflies such as baetis, drakes, blue-winged olives and sulphurs. Terrestrials and attractor fishing characterize summer angling. Drifting a large hopper pattern over appropriate water often produces some of the largest fish in the river. The Yellowstone River fishes well in the fall and serves up some of the year’s most stunning views of Montana’s always spectacular scenery. Streamer and nymph fishing are productive until November.
SPRING CREEKS, STREAMS and ALPINE LAKES - Many famous spring creeks are nearby the lodge. DePuy's, Nelson's, Armstrong's and the MZ ranch are all within 30 minutes of the Gallatin River Lodge. These spring creeks are on private property and require an access rod fee. Many anglers find the technical fishing on the creeks challenging. Our guides are experienced with this type of fishing and can help to improve your skills.
Many small streams, stillwaters and alpine lakes are also within close proximity of the lodge. Lodge management can also make arrangements for horseback trips to access isolated alpine lakes and backcountry streams in the area. Lodge guests may also fish the numerous streams, lakes and rivers of Yellowstone National Park, which is located just an hour away.
Gallatin River Lodge has its own private pond. Its spicy rainbows offer a great angling treat for many of Gallatin River Lodge guests. It also provides a great place to practice and is used for fly fishing schools and casting instruction.
The Madison and Yellowstone offer both floating and wading opportunities. We find that many guests prefer fishing out of a drift boat. A typical day includes floating 8 to 12 miles in drift boats with ample stops for lunch and wade fishing. Two guests per guide are common. The Gallatin offers walk and wade fishing.
To sum up the season…
Flyfishing in Montana can be great year around with only the most severe winter weather stopping the hardcore anglers from trekking out into the cold. Starting in April, the Baetis and Caddis combine with temperatures that won't freeze your arms off to make fishing pretty good until spring run-off, which happens sometime between May 1 and June 1. Depending on snow packs and spring weather, fishing can be great with the legendary Mother’s Day Caddis Hatch topping the charts for the early season crowd. Once the rivers drop back into shape, the PMDs are consistent and the caddis prolific. The hoppers and terrestrials round out the late summer action, with streamer fishing for pre-spawning browns in September and October.