Madison River Fishing Report for July 23rd, 2023
Dam: 1,140 cfs
Kirby: 1,270 cfs
Varney: 1,440 cfs
It’s been a hot one out there ladies and gentlemen, and the forecast isn’t showing the mercury dropping anytime soon. With water temperatures starting to hit 68-69 degrees, you’ll want to get a relatively early start if you want to get a full day in, as the bite starts to slow down around 3 pm. That said, fishing has still been decent until the early afternoon hours, but not nearly as consistent as what we saw during the first three weeks of July.
If you are floating the river you can still find a small smattering of caddis, Epeorus, Green Drakes, and Yellow Sallies from Lyons to Palisades, but most of the aquatic insects are on their way out from Pal to Ennis, with the exception of nocturnal stoneflies. The most abundant bug life seems to be from Three Dollar up to Quake for now, so I would concentrate your efforts in those sections if you are looking for the best dry fly fishing. Corn Fed Caddis in tan and olive, X-Caddis, Rusty Spinners, and small Elks hairs have been some of the better patterns for us over the last week and it won’t be long before they start looking at ants and small hoppers in the weeks to come. We have already had some good fish eating terrestrials below McAtee and hope to see better hopper fishing here shortly.
Nymphs are still working well up high too. Olive hot spot perdigons, Caddis Pupa, Pearl Perdigons, CDC Princes, $3 Dips, and Hare’s Ear & Copper have all been doing well lately between Quake and Lyons. The float stretch has been a lot more random lately though so keep cycling through various caddis pupa and attractors until you crack the code.
Streamer fishing continues to be good during the early morning hours but starts to fade about mid morning. Small sculpin patterns and thin profile stuff like Envys and Double Screamers has still been the most product way to strip them up, and we’ll been doing best on Black, Olive, and Dark Tan before the sun gets high. Once they stop chasing, you can still get into some big fish by dead drifting natural colored sculpin and zonkers right on the bottom. Definitely not as much fun, but highly effective this time of year.