What Rivers in Montana Can Most Trout Be Found In?

Montana is a paradise for trout fishing enthusiasts. With its pristine rivers and vast landscapes, this state offers some of the best trout fishing opportunities in the country.

If you’re planning a fishing trip to Montana, it’s essential to know which rivers are most likely to yield a bountiful catch. In this article, we’ll explore the rivers where you can find the most trout in Montana.

The Gallatin River

The Gallatin River is undoubtedly one of Montana’s most famous and productive trout streams. Flowing through picturesque canyons and open meadows, this river is home to healthy populations of rainbow, brown, and cutthroat trout.

Anglers flock to the Gallatin River for its diverse range of fishing opportunities, from technical dry fly fishing in its upper reaches to exciting nymphing and streamer fishing in its lower sections.

The Madison River

The Madison River needs no introduction among fly fishermen. Known for its exceptional hatches and large trout, this legendary river attracts anglers from all over the world.

With its crystal-clear waters and abundant insect life, the Madison offers fantastic dry fly fishing during peak season. Be prepared to cast your line amidst stunning scenery while Targeting feisty rainbows, browns, and even trophy-sized cutthroat trout.

The Yellowstone River

Flowing through both Wyoming and Montana, the Yellowstone River is renowned for its incredible trout fishery. As one of the longest undammed rivers in the lower 48 states, it provides ample habitat for various trout species.

From its headwaters down to Yellowstone National Park’s boundary, anglers can expect thrilling angling experiences Targeting wild rainbows and browns. The Yellowstone River also offers excellent opportunities for floating trips and wade fishing.

The Bighorn River

While not as well-known as the previous rivers mentioned, the Bighorn River is undoubtedly a hidden gem for trout fishing in Montana. Located in the southeastern part of the state, this tailwater fishery boasts incredible numbers of trout.

The Bighorn River is famous for its consistent hatches and impressive size of fish. It’s not uncommon to catch trophy-sized rainbows and browns in this productive river.

The Missouri River

Last but certainly not least, the Missouri River offers world-class trout fishing opportunities. Flowing through picturesque canyons and wide-open valleys, this river is home to an abundance of healthy rainbow and brown trout populations.

From its headwaters near Three Forks down to the Holter Dam, anglers can enjoy challenging yet rewarding fishing experiences on the Missouri. Whether you prefer dry fly fishing or nymphing, this river has it all.


Montana’s rivers provide an unparalleled trout fishing experience for anglers of all skill levels. Whether you’re a seasoned angler seeking trophy-sized fish or a beginner looking to catch your first trout on a fly, there’s a river in Montana that suits your preferences.

From the iconic Gallatin and Madison Rivers to lesser-known gems like the Bighorn and Missouri Rivers, each water body offers unique opportunities to create lasting memories on your next fishing adventure.

Photo of author

Daniel Bennet