The Gallatin is low and clear and is fishing well in the upper half of the Gallatin Canyon. The ice shelves are an issue on the lower water closer to Four Corners. On cold days slush in the river also causes challenges. Upstream of Big Sky also experiences ice issues but there are several springs that enter the river near Big Sky junction that improve access at the top of the canyon. Mild days can produce some excellent afternoon opportunities. Nymphing is the best bet and it pays to skip a lot of water and jump from one deep run to another. Look for steady currents that aren’t too strong but still enough to bring food to trout. Slow water that is 3-6 feet deep and located just below a riffle is always a good bet. Nymphing stone fly nymphs trailed by a baetis nymph or midge larva is a good bet but egg patterns and worms are also good flies to try.
The Month Ahead:
The Gallatin fishes well all winter. Don’t mess with the fast water as the fish will have moved into the slower and deeper runs. There are several springs near the Big Sky junction that keep the upper canyon waters ice free and this is a great place to fish in the colder months. During cold snaps the valley waters develop slush and big ice shelves. If you find icy conditions just keep driving upstream towards Big Sky. Upstream of Big Sky ice is also a problem so the 15-20 miles from Big Sky down is the best on the coldest days. Nymphing smaller patterns and eggs is the big producer.
Long Term Fishing Forecast:
The info above will be the forecast for most of the winter. April will produce a little more variety as the baetis mayflies become active again.