Fishing Tips: Indicator Fishing

People often ask questions about rigging nymphs with indicators and dry droppers. But, people don’t tend to ask about where and how to fish these rigs… Here’s some tips on where and how to indicator fish.

Fish a Broken Current

Choosing what type of water to fish is key! Moderately fast, broken currents are one of the best places to fish with an indicator. This type of water provides movement for your flies at a speed that’s appealing to the fish, and manageable for the angler.

Fish a Uniform Current

It’s hard to get a good drift and follow the indicator in a swirly current. Trout may hide in these swirly currents, but when they feed, they prefer to hang out in a uniform current. This is because it’s easier for them to hold their position and capture their prey. Remember, the goal is to cast your flies, indicator, and line in the same current lane.

Start in Faster Water

Since fish have to make quicker reactions for meals in faster water, they can be easier to catch. Prioritizing faster water will get quicker reactions out of those fish. Just make sure you have enough weight to get down to where those trout are feeding.

Find Optimal Depth

When your flies hit the water they begin to sink. Over time the nymphs drift down until they are hanging directly below the indicator (if everything goes to plan). This is the place where you are most likely to get a trout to eat; however, trout can eat at any moment over the course of the drift. Sometimes they’ll even eat the nymph as soon as it hits the water. It’s up to you to test out the waters and figure out what depth to fish.

Don’t Be Afraid To Add Extra Weight

It can be helpful to add more weight to your setup for two main reasons. The primary reason being that weight can help your flies get deeper in order to catch fish that are deeper in the water column. Adding weight can also help create a more drag-free drift if the nymphs and the indicator are moving in different current speeds. The addition of the weight can counteract the pull of an indicator if it’s moving at a different speed.

High-Stick When Possible

Whenever you’re close enough to the indicator that you don’t have to mend it’s best to “high-stick.” High-sticking is when you use the length of your rod to hover the fly line above the water. In this situation there is virtually no drag because the only line on the water is your leader and tippet.

Watch the Indicator Carefully

When watching the indicator you can tell if flies are “dragging” or “lagging.” A dragging indicator is when the indicator slides across currents when the line tightens. A lagging indicator is one that is in line with the flies but the surface current is traveling faster than the bottom current. Make sure to adjust your presentation to achieve a drift where the entire rig can travel at the same speed.

Open Up Your Loop When Your Casting

In order to do this you want the fly line to travel in a straight path. Instead of stopping at  eye-level with your forward casting, end your cast a little bit lower to the water. This additional movement will open up your loop and help prevent tangles.

Give these tips a try and see if you can improve your indicator fishing. If you have any additional tips, comment below. Stay tuned for more Fishing Tips articles.

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