Rivers near Bozeman, Montana, like the Yellowstone, Madison, Gallatin, and Big Hole, and Jefferson entice novice and experienced anglers year-round to battle spirited fish in pristine, rushing waters beneath snowy mountain peaks.
Best Fly Fishing Rivers
- Gallatin River
Originating at 10,000 feet in northwest Yellowstone National Park, the Gallatin River continues north through Gallatin Gateway, Belgrade and Manhattan, Montana, offering great brown and rainbow trout all the way until it joins the Madison and Jefferson Rivers, creating the Missouri River.
- Jefferson River
The Jefferson flows about 70 miles through farmland and canyons, offering excellent brown trout fishing opportunities in the upper section, between Twin Bridges and Cardwell, before it meets the Gallatin and Madison Rivers to form the Missouri River at Headwaters State Park.
- Madison River
The Madison is formed by the Firehole and Gibbon Rivers in Yellowstone National Park and runs north through West Yellowstone, Ennis and finally Three Forks to join the Jefferson and Gallatin Rivers. The section between Quake and Ennis Lakes is known as the “fifty mile riffle,” and features great rainbow and brown trout fishing.
- Big Hole River
Big Hole River begins its journey in the Beaverhead Mountains, boasting high populations of blue ribbon trout ranging from wild brown, cutthroat, rainbow to graylings as it flows 155 miles from the Continental Divide to empty into the Jefferson River.
- Yellowstone River
The Yellowstone River has more than a hundred miles of world-class trout fishing with a healthy mix of rainbow, brown, and Yellowstone cutthroat trout.
- Rivers/Lakes of Yellowstone National Park
Some of the best lakes to fish in the park include Yellowstone Lake, Lewis, and Grebe. Don't miss the Firehole, Gibbon, Madison, Lewis and Yellowstone Rivers as well.
Best Lakes for Ice Fishing
- Glen Lake
Located at Glen Lake Rotary Park (formerly the East Gallatin Recreational area), just northeast of Bozeman. Fish for rainbow trout, largemouth bass, suckers, and yellow perch.
- Bozeman Ponds
Located next to the Main Mall. Fish for rainbow trout, bass, and bluegill.
- Hyalite Reservoir
Accessible by snowmobilers and cross country skiers, the reservoir is located 10.5 miles up Hyalite Canyon. Look for cutthroat trout and arctic grayling.
- Ennis Lake
West and south of Bozeman near the town of Ennis. Fish for brown trout, mountain whitefish, and rainbows.
- Canyon Ferry Reservoir
North of Bozeman on the way to Helena. Try your luck at rainbow trout, perch, ling, and walleye.
Types of Fish/Restrictions
Brown, Rainbow, and Golden trout limits in the Bozeman area are 5 daily and 10 in possession on lakes and reservoirs, and 5 daily on rivers and streams (only 1 can be more than 18 inches long). Cutthroat and Bull Trout, as well as Arctic Graylings must be released. Brook and Lake Trout can often be caught to the heart's content.
Consider hiring an experienced and knowledgeable supplier, outfitter, and local guide listed on this page that can help make your Bozeman Fly Fishing trip a huge success. These experts are passionate about fly fishing and want you to succeed. They know the hot spots, the best fly, and have suggestions and advice to enhance the skills you already have or teach you as a beginner.
All nonresidents 15 years and older are required to obtain a fishing license. A licensed adult must accompany anyone under 15 years old. Those living in Montana for 6 months or longer are considered residents and may apply for resident licenses.
- Temporary 2-day fishing permit = $25.00
- Temporary 10-day fishing permit = $56.00
- Full Season fishing = $86.00
- Conservation license (required with all forms of fishing licenses above) - $10.00
For More Information contact the Montana Department of Fish Wildlife & Parks at 406-994-4042.