The Gallatin is likely to get muddy in the next few days. The combination of cooler temperatures and precipitation have brought the Gallatin snowpack to 116% . Rain today, and temps in the 70’s later in the week should bring a nice bit of mud down the Gallatin. We anticipate a fairly normal runoff that will subside in mid-June… Just in time to fish the salmonfly hatch.
Give the fish a day or two to settle into the muddy river and they will continue to feed. During runoff, the river will remain fairly productive for those who are intimately familiar with it. Location has a lot to do with catching fish during the runoff. You are looking for any spot a trout can catch a break from the fast, dirty flows. Typically this means fishing deep slow water or fishing near the banks. A Black Pat’s Rubberlegs with an egg or worm behind it is a consistent producer for us this time of year.
Fishing the mouth’s of clear-flowing tributaries is one tactic that can be successful as well. If you feel the need to fish dry flies on the Gallatin, throwing a blue winged olive on overcast days near these clear tributaries is your best option. We have found that the river has a few key spots the fish like to stack up in this time of year. Stop by the shop and we can give you some help finding these areas.
Clear Water Options
If the muddy water has you down, conditions are typically a bit more clear upstream of the Taylor Fork confluence. Keep in mind the stretch of the Gallatin inside of Yellowstone National Park is still closed to fishing until further notice from the Park Service. There is just a short stretch of river between the Taylor Fork and the park that is currently open to fishing, this reach of the Gallatin River will see increased fishing pressure during May.
Another great option this time of year is to hike up and fish the clear flowing tributaries to the Gallatin. We can’t give away all of our secrets online, but we have found many of the tributaries between Big Sky and Four Corners hold nice populations of Native Cutthroat. Grab your bear spray and take a hike up some of these small streams and see what you can find.
The Gallatin River in the next Month
The Gallatin river will continue to fish well through runoff. Any extreme changes in water flows will throw the fish off for a bit. Typically we see runoff go away around mid-June. This is when the Gallatin really starts to shine and become a great fishery. Salmon fly’s should start showing up around this time. Nymph fishing will be the go to fish catcher until the runoff leaves us.
Our fly shop and guide service remains fully open
Stop by if you need any supplies or an up to the minute Gallatin River fishing report. If for some reason we are not at the shop, gives us a call and we will be down swiftly to provide a personalized shopping experience. If you are here visiting and need your fly fishing FIX we can make it happen, just pick up the phone and call Wild Trout Outfitters and we will do what we do best (PUT PEOPLE ON FISH). Remember there is still a 14-Day quarantine for non-essential out of state visitors until June 1st. Don’t forget to pinch your barbs down and practice catch and release, please love them and leave them in the river.
For information on other local rivers, be sure to check out our Fishing Reports page!