Fishing and Water Sports



Bring your fly-fishing gear. Fishing the headwaters of the Missouri River near Three Forks provides sports persons with hundreds of miles of accessible blue-ribbon trout fishing. The MadisonGallatinJefferson, and Missouri rivers are among the world’s most famous trout waters. With a snow-capped, mountainous background, fishing these clear waters captures many a fisherman’s attention. The area offers views of a multitude of wildlife including great blue herons, sandhill cranes, red-tailed hawks, golden and bald eagles, river otters, beaver, mink, Canada geese, whitetail and mule deer, elk, and an occasional moose highlight the panorama. All nonresidents 15 years and older are required to obtain a fishing license. A valid licensed adult must accompany anyone under 15 years of age.

The Gallatin River emerges from the canyon just above its confluence with a small feeder stream, Spanish Creek. From Spanish Creek downstream, the Gallatin River runs through a broad canyon, in the vicinity of Bozeman. The scenery is beautiful and the fishing pressure is comparatively light as access becomes more difficult. After emerging from the canyon, the Gallatin River primarily flows through private property for the rest of its length down to Three Forks. The forested river banks found upstream give way to a mix of cottonwood tress, low brush, grass, and agricultural land along the river for the rest of its length.

This section of the river has significantly slower currents than found upstream. It also has broad runs, some under-cut banks, and occasional pools. The valley the river flows through also is agricultural in nature, becoming more arid as the river progresses downstream. The largest trout on the Gallatin River will be found in this stretch.*

*For extensive information about fishing in the Three Forks area and throughout Montana, visit Jim at Many thanks to Jim for the use of his photos.

Fishing Accesses

Floating and Canoeing

Floaters enjoy stretches of white water and canoeists have unique opportunities to experience the spirit of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, fur traders like John Colter, and mountain men like Jim Bridger, all of whom canoed the rivers of the Headwaters.


There are rifle and archery hunting seasons for elk, deer, and antelope. Goat, sheep, mountain lion, and bear hunting are also plentiful as well as upland and wetland game birds.

Hunting regulations are available at:

The Broken Spur Motel

124 W Elm St

Three Forks, Mt 59752

(406) 285-3237