Madison-Gallatin Trout Unlimited

fishing conservation, fishing in Montana, Bozeman groups

Madison-Gallatin Trout Unlimited

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Slepian, Maggie

For more than four decades, the Madison/Gallatin branch of Trout Unlimited (MGTU) has worked to restore and conserve southwest Montana’s cold-water fisheries. The group formed in 1968 due to concerns about local fisheries and the threat of a dam on the Yellowstone River, the longest free-flowing river in the Lower 48. MGTU helped successfully thwart plans for the dam, which threatened to flood Paradise Valley and forever alter the ecosystem of the river.

Today, MGTU continues to focus on habitat threats and dam concerns, and has been actively involved with the wild-trout management program and access issues dating back to the 1970s. Most recently, MGTU assisted with arctic grayling and native westslope cutthroat restoration—fish populations that have been seriously reduced by hybridization, habitat degradation, and inter-species competition.

MGTU boasts over 600 members, and it’s not just for avid anglers—the health of local freshwater affects everyone. MGTU meets often to plan projects and has an active, strong voice in the fishing and conservation community.

Involvement with the group can be as simple as attending the annual fundraising banquet, or getting out in the stream and helping with a river cleanup. Interested in becoming a member? Check out the variety of Trout Unlimited membership options online at


Clean rivers mean better fishing—and a more pleasant overall experience. Take ownership of your waterways by volunteering for a river cleanup hosted by southwest Montana’s local nonprofits. These organizations are leading the charge when it comes to conserving, protecting, and restoring Montana’s waterways, and their events offer a social atmosphere sometimes lost when we’re on the water competing for fish.

In the spring, Trout Unlimited sponsors a cleanup on the Yellowstone open to adults and kids alike, so bring the whole family and start educating the next generation of conservationists. In September, Blue Water Task Force spearheads one on the Upper Gallatin—a perfect opportunity to get your hands dirty restoring Bozeman’s home river.

Whether you fish or not, everyone gains from clean water and litter-free riverbeds. Educating friends and family is a start—and if you see someone throwing beer cans overboard or dumping trash at a campsite, feel free to berate them. Better yet, take the next step and become a real river steward by getting involved with a river cleanup. —David Tucker

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