View Full Version : Strike indicators

01-15-2007, 08:19 PM
Does any one have an oppion on strike indicators? Do foam or yarn indicators spook the fish? Also,would it be better to use a dry fly as an indicator or doe's that rig cause too many tangles?

01-15-2007, 08:32 PM
I prefer the twist on foam type because you can adjust the depth of the nymph. I have tried the dry fly/dropper method and have a tough time keeping the dry fly afloat.

Actually, I have had numerous fish hit my chartreuse indicator thinking it was a bug or something. Just one beginners opinion.


01-15-2007, 09:03 PM
What type you use all depends on the water you're fishing. Heavier water will allow bigger indicators like the big cloth ones with the loop. In slower, shallow, clear, water, you'd be wise to use a dry, yarn, or small foam indicator.

01-15-2007, 09:26 PM
I use the Scientific Anglers slip-on indicators - they're very unobtrusive - they look like a short length of fly line. The only catch is, you have to use a knotted leader, and they can be a bit of a pain to get on, particularly toward the butt section of the leader, where the knots are bigger.

01-15-2007, 09:55 PM
I used to use strike indicators, but as my good friend and excellent fly fisher mr. hugh hartsell has taught me, you will catch more fish without them. He taught me how to fish (effectively) without strike indicators and it seems that i have caught more fish without it. This theory was put to the test back before christmas when my father was using an indicator and i wasn't, while we both had the exact same set up. I cleaned up, he struggled to get strikes.

Anyways, if i were going to use a strike indicator, it would be the pinch on ones.

01-15-2007, 10:05 PM
mtnman2888..Since you dont use a strike indicator,do u use a dry fly? If so is there a sertain dry that is better than other to use?

01-15-2007, 10:47 PM
I do use a dry fly during the warmer months, usually an ehc or a stimulator because it floats well. However, this time of year especially, i use two nymphs! I'm a firm believer that the big fish stay deep!

01-15-2007, 10:53 PM
I am not very familiar with using 2 nymphs. When using so does that mean you have no idicator or dry fly?.


David Knapp
01-16-2007, 12:07 AM
Definately learn how to fish nymphs without indicators. It is well worth the time and effort...

01-16-2007, 12:40 AM
I think a little light needs to be shed on the fishing without an indicator. If I'm not mistaken, FF4life is a little new to the sport. I usually don't use indicators if I'm fishing smaller water or over more difficult fish, but when you're fishing from a boat or making long cast, a strike indicator can be a great tool. Try highsticking at 60ft or more, try it downstream at 60ft. Strike indicators allow the angler to keep flies suspended off the bottom on longer casts, making it possible to get a long drift. If you fish at long distances without an indicator your flies will end up snagged on the bottom. Going without an indicator from a boat can be done (closer in) but I kind of like watching an indicator take a big dive when a fish takes, it's a great visual.

Don't get me wrong on the highsticking, it's the bomb. But, I don't think it's so much the method as it is the fact that highsticking, to be effective, makes you lead your flies, keeping the slack out of your system. The same can be done with an indicator. It's just that going without one can make you more adept to the take. There's many advantages to fishing without an indicator. But, using one can allow many advantages, too. Like sticking a fish at 60ft, or more. What method or "tool" you use depends on the water you're fishing, or what you're trying to accomplish.

Hugh Hartsell
01-16-2007, 03:08 AM
:) I don't know if RFowler, or Mtnman, or Plateau Angler will have the opportunity to be at the Flytyers weekend this coming Saturday at LRO or not, but if they happen to be, it would really be great if they could come by where I will be tying, and talk personally with some of you that have never fished the Tandem rig nymph setup. Telling you about using either method--dry and dropper--indicator and dropper--tandem nymphs with no indicator--high stickin and any other methods, could really be enhanced by letting them give their personal descriptions of how they do this on the water. I will also be tying and talking about Czech Nymps and how to fish them in the Park. This will be followed by Tailwater flies and how to present them. If any of them can make it and talk about their methods, you will be missing a great opportunity of expanding you knowledge of the stream, if you miss this. They are all great fishermen and I know that you would enjoy meeting them personally and hearing what they have to offer, while watching the flies be tied at the same time. I look forward to seeing dozens of you.
* *Hugh Hartsell---East Tn. *

01-16-2007, 06:56 AM
I really wish i could come hugh, but unfortunately the 4 hour drive and work stand in my way :'(. We still have to go fishing sometime........

Anyways, fishing with no indicator with two nymphs can be difficult at first and takes some practice, but like everything else it pays off. There are certain instances when an indicator is useful, but i feel that in most applications in the park, not using one will pay off. If you can make it to LRO this weekend, i would go and talk to mr. hartsell about these techniques, he is a very educated and experienced angler and could help shed some light on this issue for you. I know that i had been fishing for about 8 years and this past september i met up with mr. hartsell and took a trip with him. Although we didn't catch much on the september day, i was taught how to fish effectively without using an indicator and i have caught many more fish since then. It seems that now, i can catch fish when no one else can. I would definitely recommend heading up there if you can though, you can learn alot.

01-16-2007, 07:37 AM

Look's like a lotta good information so far. Personally, I don't use them,other than a Dry with trailer on occasion.

01-16-2007, 10:06 AM
I wish I knew how to fish "no indicator", but I dont. If you can find the White River indicator system- thats what I use. Little foam balls you put on w/ rubberbands. Easy to cast, doesnt splash too much. They come real big or real small. Oh and if it seems that the fish are slapping the indicator...just put on a dryfly and go fishin'--those trout, they're tellin us somethin when they do that! ;)


01-16-2007, 02:09 PM

I love the dry fly but have become a big fan of nymph fishing.
I've never used a strike indicator other than a dry so, I can't even begin to discuss using one(but basically the same principal applies . But I can fish without one-It's all I know,other than dry flying.

I read an article a while back where a guide takes a guy out to nymph fish and told him "look for a reason to set the hook with each cast" Hmmm, I think what he was saying was "FOCUS." He wanted him to concentrate on the feel and sensitivity of the nymph and tippet/leader as it bumped across the bottom and to descern those subtle hesitations as either fish or other. When I nymph fish it's "game on." If I want to see the scenery I take a break and enjoy. How many of us(how many times) early in, have missed a good fish because we were daydreaming? There is certainly more to cover,dead drift, highsticking, short/long cast etc.. I would practice,practice and get a guide for a day. You'll be glad you did!


01-16-2007, 02:39 PM
My two cents worth on this. I do all of these things depending on the current situation (and certainly dependent on my mood at that moment) In heavy water if I am trying to make a cast and get a decent drift I will use an indicator, the size of the indicator is dependent on the size of the fly, big stones for instance will take a small indicator down in an instant and hang you in the rocks.
If water is a little low and a fish or two smack the indicator I will either go to the dry/dropper set-up or get rid of the nymph all together (preferred!).
Unless the water is very low and clear I don't worry about spooking them with the indicator.
On tailwaters like the Clinch where the fish seem so spooky I will only fish a white yarn indicator, it lands silently and looks like a feather or nothing on the water. Particularly above the weir dam where the takes are typically painfully slow. That is almost a meditative fishing, trying to reach out to the trout and communicate through the (force! :) to get the fish to bite. I fish streamers without indicators most of the time, and sometimes fish high stick or with ever so slight a belly in the line to help detect the strikes.
Anyway different situations call for different tactics. I mostly fish the styrofoam twist-on foam ones, they are reuseable and easily adjustable.
Tight lines,

01-16-2007, 03:37 PM

Don't let all this highsticking talk confuse you. Of course, this all depends on what kind of fishing you were doing before you picked up the long rod. If you've ever used bait while river fishing you've probably highsticked before, allowing the bait to drift naturally. There's no need to get all fancy smancy just because of a flyrod. I was highsticking bait at 3, before I knew I was doing anything special. ;) After all, the object is to fool the fish with your offering. Flyrodding, then, can be defined as just another delivery method.