Fly Fishing the Gallatin River

This entry is part [part not set] of 49 in the series All American Road Trip out West 2014



I love fishing. I grew up on lakes and fishing was just part of life growing up. Every once in a while, I will swap a standard pole for a fly rod. I can catch sunfish and bass like nobody’s business on calm water. But what I was about to do is something that was just crazy hard and it pushed me into a new kind of fishing. I was about to fly fish the Gallatin River.


We pushed a rubber raft in the Gallatin River at 7:30 AM. It’s cold up in the mountains! These wild roses were at our launch site:


If you fly fish the Gallatin River, you will find it is full of Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, and Mountain White Fish. It also has Grayling, but they are few and far between. 


Not really knowing what to expect, I went along with my guide Nick Lawton and followed his advise from the start. After a quick tune up of my casting, we were heading down river. 

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Nick found several holes for us to fish. This guy is a pro too. He was very knowledgeable about the fishing, but most importantly, he loved doing it and loved teaching others how to find a passion in it too. If you are in the Yellowstone or Big Sky area, you need to ask Nick to guide for you. 

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After a half-day trip down the Gallatin River, I bet I caught two dozen trout, both rainbow and brown, and a couple of mountain white fish too. This was some of the most challenging and rewarding fishing I have done. Trout are very quick and you have to work very hard to even get a chance to hook them. Then, when you do, they run strait at you! But then see you and run into the current. All this time, you have to manage your line on the fly rod and hope you don’t get a fish that jumps and throws your hook. It was crazy. But a ton of fun!


I had one last question for Nick: How do you like to cook your trout?

If you want to contact Nick Lawton, you can reach him through


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About Chris 759 Articles
Chris Ashbach is one of the founders of Dan330. Chris is a pilot and avid outdoorsman who loves fishing, hunting, camping, and exploring. He loves taking kids (especially his own) on trips to share his passion of the outdoors. Chris is also a gardener, volunteers at Let's Go Fishing, and teaches Sunday school. Chris holds a MA in Organizational Leadership and is faculty at a local university in Minnesota; teaching undergraduate business classes.