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West Yellowstone, MT

Photo via Flickr

Trout fishing’s most legendary waters

The hallowed mountains, rivers, and plains of West Yellowstone have long been a special part of America’s environmental and sporting history. Here, an angler can find American trout fishing as it used to be. Home to the beautiful Yellowstone Cutthroat trout and many other incredible trout species, an angler’s resume is not complete until they have visited this part of the world with a rod in hand.

The Gallatin is often referred to as trout fishing’s most beautiful river. With emerald waters and picturesque canyons, it is no surprise that this river served as the setting for Robert Redford’s A River Runs Through It. The trout here are plentiful and large, and more than willing to take a fly during the region’s more famous hatches, like the Salmon Fly hatch in the summer.

In Yellowstone National Park itself, anglers have a chance to fish many an unnamed tributary to the beautiful Yellowstone River, which runs out of the park and into the aptly named Paradise Valley. Taking a drift boat down this storied river is something everyone should experience, fisherman or not.

Basic Info
  • 23° Dec-Feb
  • 47° 21° Mar-May
  • 77° 40° Jun-Aug
  • 66° 30° Sep-Nov
Upper Madison, Gallatin, Yellowstone Rivers
Fishing license info here: here

The Catch

Top fish species to target in West Yellowstone, MT

Brook Trout

Especially prevelant, sometimes over populated, in high elevation lakes and streams, these fish have one spots and multi-colored fins.

Brown Trout

Large dark spotting pattern makes this fish stand out against the other trouts. They can be tough to catch and strong. Look for fall runs.

Cutthroat Trout

These fish look similar to Rainbows but with more spotting and the distinctive red slash near the throat.

Rainbow Trout

Adult fish are distinguished by a broad reddish stripe along the lateral line, from gills to the tail, which is most vivid in breeding males.

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