Trout Fishing With An Indicator

As the temperature starts to rise and we head into May, this is a wonderful time for fly anglers to take advantage of the fishing opportunities available. Buzzers are perhaps the main hatching insect, and for this reason, it's worth trying a two fly cast with a couple of buzzers in tow.

Buzzers fished static on a slow retrieve or fished naturally with the current is a fantastic method and will result in some powerful pulls, however, using an indicator can significantly increase your catch rate.

Fish Pimp Strike Indicators
The indicator is a fantastic method for presenting buzzer/bloodworm patterns to trout as it fishes your flies at the right depth, and keeping them there - much like the real thing. If trout are cruising at, let's say 6 feet, then a buzzer suspended at that depth has a higher chance of being seen by just about any fish.

Buzzer and Apps Bloodworm on the Indicator
Love it or hate it, using an indicator is deadly and although some might say "it's float fishing," well at least it's not with bait but with an artificial fly. The hardest job is deciding what depth to set the indicator so that the fly combo is working at the right levels. This can be done by assessing the rise forms, or lack of, to make a judgement about the correct depth.

Using two flies under the indicator is an excellent method of covering different depths. If you pick up fish from the dropper, then you can swap over the patterns to see if it is simply the depth or maybe the colour/size of fly that's the deciding factor.

Adjust The Depth
On some fisheries with well-bushed banks or sudden drop-offs, you can get an indicator Buzzer set-up to present the flies really tight up against any structure, and it's a brilliant method to entice a fish to sneak out from cover. Something dropped in close and retrieved away is often unlikely to get a response but keep the patterns 'in their face' and there's a much higher likelihood of a take.

Stillwater Assorted Buzzers
Top Tips for Fishing the Indicator
Trout may not show themselves in the most obvious places and if you see some activity, it’s better to fish there as you know you’re in with a chance.

Have a range of lures in different sizes, shapes and colours plus Buzzers, Bloodworms and Diawl Bachs. You’ll gather a whole load of flies so get a good batch from the word go.

Fulling Mill Diawl Bach
Check weather forecasts, noting late frosts, depressions and changes in wind direction – all affect the fish. Cloudless days and bright sun will drive fish deeper than you might expect.

Be prepared to change tactics to either search deeper in the water column or, conversely, reduce the depth if the fish suddenly begin to rise freely as a hatch kicks off.

Dragon Hothead Squirmy Worms
In coloured water, mono or nylon fishing line will be effective, however, if the water is clear then it is more advantageous to use fluorocarbon. Fluorocarbon can bring distinct advantages if you fish for wild-bred fish or at catch and release fisheries because it offers lower visibility and it has a low refractive index and is nearly invisible in the water.  It is also heavier than mono and gets your flies into the target feeding zone.

Fulling Mill Masterclass Fluorocarbon
Retrieves - Indicator
It’s hard to do nothing; your instinct is to chase after fish and cover rises.  But the best thing you can do is to be patient, keep your slack line to a minimum, and concentrate on your indicator. It can be far better to choose just where you want to have the flies fish rather than haphazardly casting all the time. Try to fish where you can see activity or where you think the fish may be lying. Areas like over old weed beds, up against banks or structure or where you know there’s a drop-off into deeper water. It’s better to change the depth at which you have set the indicator than to be pulling the flies back!
Veniard Strike Indicator Patches
You might be tempted to wait until the indicator has submerged, however, be aware that fish can have a nosey and you will see the indicator getting 'knocked.' If you observe it getting knocks, and there is no slack in your fly line on the water, give the rod a positive, and confident lift - you don't need to strike so hard that your whole rig ends up in field or bushes behind you! There is a chance that you will hook into a fish. Or, if the indicator dives, a confident and positive lift will hook the fish.

Yes the indicator method is frowned upon by many 'purists' but the important thing is to get people out fishing and supporting the local fisheries and stillwaters.  It's great fun, and it does not require constant casting and retrieving.  Love it or hate it, fishing the indicator is very popular and it's gaining popularity.

This article was brought to you in association with Trout Fisherman Magazine.