Bozeman, Montana is known for its world class rivers that flow from the iconic mountain ranges that circle the region. Primary rivers in the Bozeman area include the Gallatin, Madison, Missouri, Yellowstone, Smith, and Jefferson. Montana Stream Access Law combined with the large amount of Public Land in Bozeman provide of excellent recreational opportunities on these rivers.
Gallatin River – The Gallatin is a blue ribbon river that originates in Yellowstone National Park. In its upper reaches, it flows through a spectacular alpine environment within the Gallatin Canyon where the fishing scenes from the movie A River Runs Through It were filmed. The Gallatin is a very picturesque river with crystal clear water and lots of trout. The river is not known for trophy trout but often produces fast action and high catch rates.
Madison River – The Madison is a blue ribbon river that offers an amazing diversity of water and varies significantly from its source in Yellowstone National Park to its confluence with the Missouri River. Different sections of the river offer different habitat, scenery, hatches and fishing techniques.
Missouri River – The Missouri is a blue ribbon river that is one of the best Montana fly fishing rivers. It begins at Three Forks, about 30 minutes west from Bozeman where the Gallatin, Madison, and Jefferson meet. The Missouri river is known for great hatches, premier dry fly fishing, large trout and carp fishing.
Yellowstone River – The Yellowstone is a blue ribbon river and is the longest free flowing river in the lower 48 and one of North America’s most productive wild trout fisheries. The river drains much of Yellowstone National Park and it’s surrounding wilderness areas. The Yellowstone River offers more than 200 miles of high quality trout waters that include a variety of fish species and water characteristics.
Smith River – Noted for its spectacular scenery and blue-ribbon trout fishery, the Smith River is unique in that it has only one public put-in and one public take-out for the entire 59-mile (95 km) segment of river. This makes the Smith River the most isolated river in the lower 48 states.
Shields River – The Shields River is a tributary of the Yellowstone River, 65.4 miles (105.3 km) long, in Meagher and Park Counties Montana in the United States.
It rises in the Gallatin National Forest in the Crazy Mountains in northern Park County. It flows west, then south, between the Bridger Range to the west and the Crazy Mountains to the east, past Wilsall and Clyde Park. It joins the Yellowstone approximately 10 mi (16 km) northeast of Livingston.
Jefferson River – The Jefferson River is 83 miles long. It begins at the confluence of the Beaverhead River and Big Hole River. The Jefferson River and the Madison River form the official beginning of the Missouri at Missouri Headwaters State Park near Three Forks, Montana 30 miles west of Bozeman. It is joined 0.6 miles (1.0 km) downstream (northeast) by the Gallatin River.