Fly Fishing Report: July 2023

Fly Fishing Report: July 2023

Another month deeper into summer and it feels like we’re in the thick of it. Great fishing opportunities abound from warm water species in our tepid stillwaters to hunting trout in the cool clear waters of the Cascade Mountains. There’s a little of everything available out there and we do our best to get a taste of all of it. Thanks for keeping us busy on a fairly daily basis. It’s great to see folks getting after it on the water and to hear the successes and discoveries that arise with each adventure. I spent the other evening chasing bluegill on Fazon well into darkness. A nearly full moon illuminated the flat water on the lake as a chorus of bullfrogs, coyotes, owls and the occasional concussion of an M-80 filled the warm air. What a beautiful night enjoyed closed to home after a bustling day at the shop. We’re very fortunate to live where we live.

We’ve pretty well crossed the line into wet wading season, particularly if you’re bound for the east side of the mountains. We have a really good inventory of wet wading socks from both Simms and Korkers, along with the new Korkers Swift Sandal as well if you want to simplify your wet wading attire. We’ve had lots of questions about the status of the road into the Upper Skagit in BC. As it stands, it appears that the road to Hozomeen will remain closed past Silverhope Lake for another summer season unfortunately. We can only cross our fingers for next year.

The shop will be closed all day on Tuesday, July 4th in observance of Independence Day. We hope you get to make the most of it and spend some time with family and friends, maybe even get a little fishing in. Be safe out there! Even after our brief June rainstorms it’s pretty dry in the Northwest and it’s nice to not be totally plagued by fire smoke just yet. We look forward to seeing you after the holiday and helping you get geared up for your next fishing adventure. Pink salmon season is barely a month away!


It has been so nice to get back on the moving water lately. Many of our mountain streams on the west side are already at fishable flows. Even the Skagit is running at a level that would suggest mid-August rather than early July. There are plenty of open river options to satisfy most interests. If you’re out for salmon, the chinook and sockeye fisheries on the Skagit run through mid-July. Both of these are challenging prospects on the fly but we’ve spoken to a few folks who’ve been catching and we have some productive patterns at the shop.

I spent much of June targeting bull trout on the Skagit with a trout spey and overall, the fishing was pretty good. Olive or brown sculpin patterns, along with the tried and true Dali Llamas have been very successful. There’ve even been a few surprises along the way. Thanks Travis for your deft hand in helping me land a pretty stellar fish for the old 4 wt. trout spey. I think I would have been completely hosed without your assistance.

If you wish to roam the thin blue lines up in the hills. Most of them are pretty fishable at the moment. High floating dries like Rio’s Dry Humper, PMX’s, Bugmeisters and smaller Chubbies have been working well. Fish a small dropper nymph like a Rainbow Warrior or Copper John and you’ll sometimes encounter those bigger fish that are more reluctant to come to the surface.

The Methow has been fishing well and has been at wadable levels much earlier than usual this season. Keep an eye on thunderstorms. The Chewach has been kicking in a lot of sediment at times, particularly after it rains in the mountains. When the water clarity is good, golden stones, yellow sallies and caddis patterns have been working very well. Hoppers should begin producing well this month and provide a great high floating base from which to hang a smaller nymph pattern as a dropper.


Locally it’s now largely a spiny ray show in our lakes. The water is simply too warm to target trout and release them with a high survival rate in our stillwaters. If you’re seeking trout, higher elevation lakes are the move this month with Adult Midges, Ants, Beetles, Parachute Adams and Mosquitos working well on top and small Mini Leeches, Peacock Soft Hackles, Prince Nymphs, Partridge and Orange and Olive Hares Ears catching fish below. Strap on those boots and head for the hills.

If you wish to stick closer to home, the surface popper game for bass and bluegill on our local lakes has been fantastic over the last few weeks and should continue through the summer. It’s also time to begin looking for Hexagenia mayflies hatching on Lake Whatcom around dusk. Early and late in the day have been the best times for bass and panfish.


Folks have been finding some sea run cutthroat around the eastside of Whidbey and off Camano Island. Small sandlance and herring patterns have been the ticket. Look for pink salmon to begin showing off the west side of Whidbey Island towards the end of the month.

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