Afield with Friends: Improve your catch with strike indicators

I discovered years ago I could fool more trout if I could detect the slightest bump on my imitation fly. I also learned, when guiding clients with little casting experience, using a strike indicator when fishing nymphs would help in the learning process to help them be good nymphers.

That process begins when you wade into a pool, particularly larger streams like Penns Creek. Pine Creek and Spring Creek above Bellefonte. Pennsylvania’s larger streams give the beginning nympher less chance to lay line in the trees on back casts and more chance to build confidence.

Rod length on larger streams is important to control added weight on the leader, a floating line, and strike indicator and the preference of many anglers. Rod length aids the angler in keeping more line off the surface of the water and improves your ability to control drag — a secret to become a good nympher with or without the use of a strike indicator.

I like to construct all my indicators and build each according to the depth of water, the velocity of the water and light conditions. Poly yarn is my choice for artificial material. When dressed, it floats like a cork. It is easy to dry, easy to change colors and size and is cheap. Chartreuse and black are my choice in colors.

When guiding, I placed the indicator at least 2 feet from the tip of the floating line if in deep water. That way you don’t disturb the natural drift of your fly when mending.

In a pool with strong rapids, I normally quarter cast upstream, allowing the shot time to get down as deep as possible. With an indicator, it really does not get as deep in the water as with weight.

Fishing in shallow water over trout that are working calls for a different approach.

The indicator should be light and small but still be visible. I tie in a small clump of polyset on the top of the shank of a 2488 No. 16 or 18 hook. Then tie in No. 20 metz hackle at the polybase, parachute style. For low light I use the same style, only all jet black.

Fishing with or without a strike indicator is a matter of personal choice.

And there are many ways that we can detect strikes from trout.

Chosing a specific method and type of indicator available is also a matter of choice ecause there are many on the market. It’s what you feel comfortable with.