Indicator help

c-dawg

Active Member
WFF Supporter
I fish a local-to-me lake that has a population of wild cutthroat, some in the 12-14" range. The lake is really only fishable in the winter after the rains raise the level above the lily pads. Because of the height of the spillway, by Mother's Day the water level has dropped to the point the lily pads are so thick it's really unfishable. So that being said, right now there is about 4' of water above the lily pads, with the total depth about 9-10'.

When the water gets warmer towards the end of April-beginning of May, the fish will readily take streamers like Buggers. But now they're focused on chironomids, I think. When the water is smooth you can see swirls all over the surface with an occasional "bloop" sound. So I think they're taking hatching midges just under the surface.

I've tried several chiro patterns under an indicator from 1-4' deep. I've had the indicator go down, but I can't seem to get a hook set. I don't know if I'm too slow or too quick. I have very little experience with indicator fishing, so I'm not sure I'm doing things right.

Is the assumption I can see the swirls mean the fish are probably in the first foot or two of the water column? Weird thing is, I moved through the location I know some fish were feeding while holding a fine mesh net about 18-24" under the surface. I didn't pick up anything; no husks, no emergers, no scuds, no nothing.

So, I'm looking for suggestions on how you would fish this water and what patterns I should be thinking about using.

Thanks.
 

aimacart

Active Member
If you keep the slack out of the fly line when your indicator goes down you will get a better hook up percentage. I would probably use a leach or nymph on a floating line and cast to the swirls.
 

troutpocket

Active Member
I fish a local-to-me lake that has a population of wild cutthroat, some in the 12-14" range. The lake is really only fishable in the winter after the rains raise the level above the lily pads. Because of the height of the spillway, by Mother's Day the water level has dropped to the point the lily pads are so thick it's really unfishable. So that being said, right now there is about 4' of water above the lily pads, with the total depth about 9-10'.

When the water gets warmer towards the end of April-beginning of May, the fish will readily take streamers like Buggers. But now they're focused on chironomids, I think. When the water is smooth you can see swirls all over the surface with an occasional "bloop" sound. So I think they're taking hatching midges just under the surface.

I've tried several chiro patterns under an indicator from 1-4' deep. I've had the indicator go down, but I can't seem to get a hook set. I don't know if I'm too slow or too quick. I have very little experience with indicator fishing, so I'm not sure I'm doing things right.

Is the assumption I can see the swirls mean the fish are probably in the first foot or two of the water column? Weird thing is, I moved through the location I know some fish were feeding while holding a fine mesh net about 18-24" under the surface. I didn't pick up anything; no husks, no emergers, no scuds, no nothing.

So, I'm looking for suggestions on how you would fish this water and what patterns I should be thinking about using.

Thanks.
If you are seeing the indicator drop you are 90% there. If you know the depth and never need to go deeper than a few feet, make sure your leader is only long enough to do the job. This helps with casting and line control. Next time try a strip set when the indicator moves at all. I don’t subscribe to letting them “commit”. If you feel weight, lift and you should be set up on the fish.
 

skyrise

Active Member
sometimes wind can be your friend. as in casting down wind and holding a tight line to the indicator then a slow hand twist retrieve or very short intermittent tugs . or just let it sit and wait for the indicator to move even the slightest.
 

c-dawg

Active Member
WFF Supporter
If you know the depth and never need to go deeper than a few feet, make sure your leader is only long enough to do the job.
That's a great tip. So if my indicator is never more than 4' from the bottom fly, I only need a leader of about 4 1/2' from the fly line? Just a short length of 3X?

If I'm only fishing that deep, should I be using emergers? Or stick with pupae?
 

troutpocket

Active Member
One lake I fish is no deeper than about 7’. I rig an 8’ leader and hang bugs at 5-6’. I like the indicator to be 2-3’ from the end of the fly line.

I use a slip indicator even though you don’t need one in such shallow water. The peg works better with 6 or 8 lb mono than fluoro tippet so my leader is a 2’ butt section of 12lb maxima, 3’ of 6lb maxima, then 3’ of 3x fluoro tippet. All sections joined with double surgeons knots.

Fly choice can change by the day or even hour. Early in the morning probably leeches or bloodworms. As bugs start to show, chironomids or soft hackles.
 

pond monkey

Active Member
If I know Im going to be casting to rises whether in 4 feet or 15 feet, I like to use a floating line and a 9’ tapered nylon leader and a 3’ fluorocarbon tippet along with a 1/2” fixed indicator ( corkie and tooth pick)....and hang the fly down about 2 feet...usually you can determine what the fish are likely taking....
 
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Robert Engleheart

Robert
WFF Supporter
I’d try a long leader, greased well to within whatever depth you want to present your fly at x 1.5; so if I want to present at 2’, I’ll grease the leader to within 3’ of unweighted fly, in most cases an emerger pattern. Very slow retrieve or just lift rod very, very slowly, taking up slack as you drop rod tip back to water. This gives you a tight line at all times and allows fly to rise like a natural.
 

Buzzy

Active Member
I’d try a long leader, greased well to within whatever depth you want to present your fly at x 1.5; so if I want to present at 2’, I’ll grease the leader to within 3’ of unweighted fly, in most cases an emerger pattern. Very slow retrieve or just lift rod very, very slowly, taking up slack as you drop rod tip back to water. This gives you a tight line at all times and allows fly to rise like a natural.
Robert - Good advice and one that I sometimes don't remember to utilize. I tend to get fixated fishing midges using indicators when an indicator in shallow water may well spook fish if your presentation "splats" (Pat Splat) down. Of course this is true with many presentations; avoid the splat.

Pat

Ps. (way off topic, enjoying Bosch on Prime, thanks for that tip way back when).
 

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