I made an interesting observation this weekend that I thought I might pass along. Hopefully others with more experience can expand upon it.
I fished Saturday through Monday on the Clinch having excellent luck (nymphing) on Saturday and Monday. I was averaging a hookup every third or fourth drift and at times felt like I was spending more time fighting fish and replacing broken off/ worn out flies than fishing.
Sunday however was overcast and very slow. I could not buy a strike until I switched from a green yarn indicator that I had been using with success on Saturday to white yarn indicator. Upon switching I immediately hooked up with two fish right before having to leave due to rising water.
Yesterday, when returning to the river, I once again had great luck fishing under a white indicator, but decided to test out the green indicator and continued to catch fish with the same amount of success.
It seems to me from these experiments that indicator color and surface color is more visible on overcast days. I'm assuming that on Sunny days, the Sun's direct light backlights the indicator making color less important.
First and foremost fish what you like and what works for you.
I went through this same thing when I first started using indicators 20 years ago or so, but over time I began to realize it makes absolutely no difference what color the indicator is. White, green, chartreuse, red, orange, black etc etc., the fish pay no attention to it from my experience.
They also could care less if you use a tiny wisp of yarn or a decent sized chunk so long as you don't bomb it down on their heads. If you lead them properly they could care less.
They do mind the heavy plop of plastic type indicators in flat water so I would and personally only fish yarn as it is easier to cast and there's no risk of the plop.
I draw from my lengthy career as a guide on the clinch and a trout bum who in my prime spent at least 5 days a week on the river.
The fly underneath and the drift you can obtain are vastly more important than the color of the indicator.
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