The Madison-Gallatin Chapter of Trout Unlimited was formed in 1968 by Bud Lilly, Dan Bailey, Pat Sample Halterman, Bud Morris and John Peters. This group came together because of mutual concerns over southwest Montana fisheries, including habitat impacts and the threat of a dam on the Yellowstone River. Habitat issues and dams have continued to be key concerns of the Chapter over the years.

Other landmark issues the Madison-Gallatin Chapter has been actively involved in were the implementation of the wild trout management program in the 1970s and the efforts to protect stream access in the 1980s. Most recently the Chapter has been active in native fish restoration issues involving the arctic grayling and the westslope cutthroat trout.

Today the The Madison-Gallatin Chapter has a rich heritage of strong advocacy for the Madison and Gallatin watersheds and and our native and wild trout.  We are currently over 900 members strong.

Wild Trout: A Montana Fish Story

In the 1970’s, young Montana biologist Dick Vincent discovered that stocking hatchery-reared trout on top of wild trout populations in the Madison River actually suppressed trout fishing. Based on his research, the state of Montana prohibited stocking streams occupied by wild trout populations turning fisheries managers’ attention to restoring habitat quality after decades of pollution, damming, and drying up streams. The shift in focus to quality stream habitat changed the trajectory of Montana’s legendary trout fisheries from a steady decline to world class. Since Montana’s wild trout policy took hold, angler conservationists with Trout Unlimited and its partners have unleashed four decades of restoring streams and the quantity and quality of the cold, clean waters trout and anglers depend upon. Wild Trout: A Montana Fish Story chronicles Montana’s conversion to wild trout fisheries and the profound changes still evident in our beloved trout fisheries.


Mission Statement

To conserve, protect and restore S.W. Montana’s coldwater fisheries and their watersheds.

Our Vision

To ensure robust populations of native and wild coldwater fish once again thrive within S.W. Montana so that our children can enjoy healthy fisheries in their home waters.