Indicator fishing - dialing in your depth...

Hooked a chum on the indi tonight. Nothing like that little pink ball slightly going under and finding 10 lbs of extremely irritated chum on the other end. Sweeeeet
That was a good time with the chum. I didn't realize you switched to the indicator.

Good discussion guys! I'm a lake newb, and I love soaking this stuff up. Once the chum are done, I'll be looking for a seat in that pram Nick. :D
I was using the indi before you got there. Hooked the one fish but lost it. Switched up after that and didn't use it the rest of the night.

We will definitely get you out on some stillwatwers after we finish sore lipping as many chum as possible.


Gnu to the board
I'm already looking forward to spring lake fishing when I can next use these tactics (not saying you couldn't in the winter, but I won't). Only 5 months to go. Need to get some of those slip indicators.


Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater
If we get a extended cold spell this winter and some of the small lakes freeze over, fish them right after the ice comes off.
The fish go crazy right after ice off.

Gregg Lundgren

Now fishing on weekdays too!

I was in a similar situation as you two years ago. I don't claim to be a vertical presentation enthusiast, but definitely a true believer given the right situation. I remember being on Lone stripping leaches and buggers, just sore lipping one trout right after the other. Suddenly, the bite just shutdown for me. But wait! There is Irafly and troutpocket just non-stop whooping it up fishing 'mids out of his pram. There must be something to this (dark side)game.

I felt like that day didn't nearly live up to its true potential (like a certain football team that didn't seem to show-up prepared for the second half). So, like you, I started accumulating information, and showed up a week or two later, and began giving it a try when things were "slow" within my own presentation comfort zone. I hung out with Steve Kokita for a spell, mostly just shooting the breeze, but a small tip was offered here and there. "Try a chromie", and "ease-up on that hook-set". Some wonderful folks here on the forum, and it has been a steady progression from there based on the help of many. I still consider myself a beginner using 'mids, but my success has been exponential since "tuning in".

But to get to your specific question: dialing in your depth? Perhaps nothing new to add to the information above, but validation through different tactics or just plain luck. I don't use a fish finder, and I don't anchor-up, rather I fin kick in my WaterMaster to hold position.
  • I use a weighted top fly, and an unweighted bottom fly 18" under
  • Measure for depth by hooking the bottom fly to a wide rubber band tied to a bell sinker, lower to bottom; set slip indicator
  • Assume suspension is never quite vertical
  • Cast to shallower water, begin painfully slow retrieve
  • My thought is that I cover depths from dragging the unweighted fly very slowly along the bottom, to 3 feet or more above bottom, depending if I fin kick slowly into deeper water
  • I shorten up the indicator distance by two feet and repeat if no results
  • I start the process with the shoreline in play, then start from deeper water and repeat as above
My technique is limited for use in calm to light winds.

My greatest accomplishment has been learning to almost master the hook-set, and getting the fish to stick consistently. I think some have described it as lifting your arm to ring a doorbell, but when you gain enlightenment, it is a beautiful thing.

Anyway, some tips from one novice to another. I hope they might help in some way.



Active Member
Good thread! A couple things - I use my rod to measure where to put my slip indicator.

knowing how deep your finders transducer is - is a must for correct depth setting. reading the depth to your buddy and not adding the 1 1/2 ft. difference in the transducer can be "mean"

When I'm fishing 10 ft. or over my flies are at least 3 ft. apart if not 4 ft. I like to fish two zones at once when ever I can and have found if the top fly is to close sometimes it spooks fish. I also almost always use one split shot and large slip indi's. it sinks "FAST" and stands the indicator straight up and tells me exactly when my flies are vertical. wind is not as much of a factor with all the weight I use on the flies and split shot (tungsten bead flies) once you get the setting down you don't have to check your depth that much when using a finder. I'm usually about 3 to 4 inches from my target depth without sending down the forceps to check. anymore I might check once a day but sometimes I don't even check. after time it's pretty easy.
Caught my first few fish on a size 18 chromie under an indicator on Sunday! I was at my super secret unicorn beaver pond so fishing was not much of a challenge, but it was a great place to get my confidence up. I'll have to get out on Cady and try to challenge myself a bit more :-D