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"Sing"
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
"Get rid of that indicator! That's your problem right there!" Fred yelled.
"Watch your line tip, that's your indicator." Aaron, over my shoulder.

These great voices from the true spey fishers echoed in my head when I, the California indicator fly fisher, decided that I would lose the polyyarn or it'd be a dishonor to my new Meiser 5/6 11'6". And so I fished all day, indicatorless, for trout yesterday, feeling naked and disabled.

On a lot of the waters in California, and on the Rogue as well, flyfishers fish nymph patterns for steelheads. I believe you can swing a nymph in front of a steelie to provoke a take-- steelheads don't care about natural drifting nymph very much. Fish that take skated dry flies don't care for a drag-free dift. Trouts do. You can twitch a caddis but not skate one for selective trout. And when you drift a nymph within the boundary layer of fluid flow, you want it to to drift naturally.

Now, I was indicatorless. First, high-stick spey nymphing with split shots (hey guys, are split shots allowed?). That, I've always done with my single hander, proudly, indicatorlessly. The problem with this technique is that the distance you can high-stick is quite limited. Though the extra length of a double hander becomes advantageous, beyond a certain distance where the floating tip cannot be lifted above the water, you'll have to watch the line instead of feeling it.

I tried using a sinking leader with Fred's maxima-compensator. I felt I could control my line to swing the nymph but the time to get a good drift with the leader away from the fish is quite short. I believe trout, unlike steelhead, is quite leader shy, especially to the thick opaque sinking types.

Reminiscing my indicator, I realized that my indicator is not just for indicating strikes. The bobber, as disgraceful as some think, allows a the fly fisher to adjust the effective length of the leader. That piece of yarn tied on to a long leader becomes an adjustable floating line tip!

So, please, to the great true trout fishers of the west: what should I do without my indicator?
How do you present a nymph to a trout 40 ft away from you at a 5 ft depth, if you have a 16 ft leader with a 13 ft spey rod?

OK, I'm getting rid of that bobber. But is there a nicotine gum equivalent to the indicator ... leader depth adjuster?

Ever heard of Indi-spey Fishing? It's quite popular in California. :)

-Sing
 

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i've almost always swung,except for globugs,and one other time i'd really rather forget,5 wt. single hander with 12 wt. worth of crap on there,anyway,i'm interested in the technique,not going to argue as to why,that would be pointless,but,,WHAT are you using again ,exactly,is there a way to simply add it to the leader without retying,i've seen plenty of stuff,but have noticed most use a VERY big wad of ,?,looks like a ,well a big ol' bobber,from upriver,looking for a quick connect setup,,,not ALL the river's moving,looking to work the frogwater:D
 

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JD
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Good for you Sing

I'm proud of you. Not that I have the answer to your delima but,,,,I've been using a Grand Spey line. They have big fat tips that can float (and turn over) the two fly setup we use up here. I have heard stories of old timers attaching a short piece of fat belly (from an old) fly line to use as an indicator. You might try that.

If I get mad enough, I'm going to rig up a single hander with mono and a red & white plastic Bo,,,Bob,,,,,ARRRRGH, I can't say it....BOBBER! That ought to shake up the troops around here. :devil: Anyone know where I can get an Alvie reel,,,cheap. :chuckle:

JD
 

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Grease It like hell

I guess your using one of those dam plastic fly lines <me i use a silk DT 5 for most of my river nymphing with rods from 7'6" up to 11'6" ,back before I invested in the silk I would use a good quality mainly cortland bright coloured line and really really grease it up so that it floated on the surface and most important of all the back end of the leader would be well greased .
If Eyesight allows you can see where the leader is cutting into the surface ,any strange stop twitch gets a lift .
works for me :D :hehe:
 

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Try cuttinga one inch piece of "BRIGHTLY" coated electrical wire, pull the copper wire out and feed the plastic tube onto the butt end of the leader, secure it with a few thread wraps. I find it works to detect a strike as long as there is a visible change of color between the line color and the plastic tube.
It "indicates" but I don't consider this to be of the same ilk as a true bobber!
 

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"Sing"
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51 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
A rose by any other name ...

Any piece of floating device, be it a short piece of floating line or an inflated tube, used to float the leader and detect strike, is an "Indicator", or bobber.

Calling a bobber an indicator was the beginning of the hypocracy. Then we invent the same device in difference looks and materials and try to hide from the same old shame (not that there's anything shameful about it). Often we use a bushy useless caddis with "dropper", an that too is indicator fishing.
The avoidance of using split shot/sinker by replacing it with big fat sinking fly that doesn't catch fish is an equally hypocritic act.

I don't want to get into this old indicator or not controversy. All I'd like to know is if there is a highly skillful non-indicator technique out there practiced by the purists that I have not learned.

-Sing
 

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pupafoo

I have 3 of Bob Meiser's 10'6" switch Rods. With the 5/6 which I bought for trout, if there is no surface or sub surface activity, my Boles indicator goes on. So far no protest from the Rod. Trout , cuts and half pounders have protested.

This Sunday I fished with my son, Chris the Cromag. We discussed our futility of fishing without indicators in California.

After he was graduated from college, for about 7-8 years he chased steelhead all over Oregon, Washington with great luck without an indicator. In California he has never caught a big steelhead using classic steelhead techniques with the exception in the Smith, Trinity, Gualala and few small rivers/streams. Neither have any of his friends including editors for some well know fishing mags/news papers.

Nor has he ever seen a fly fisher from the bank catch a large steelhead in the American River, lower Sac, Yuba, Feather and most of the Russian River using classic techniques with a floating or sinking line while wading the river.

On the Lower Yuba, if there is a hatch or subsurface activity, I have done quite well with a floating line and a regular leader or a sinking furled leader with the big trout. Soon the Skalwa stone hatch will be starting in ernest. Meise's 5/6 rod with a floating WC 5/6 and a 15' floating furled leader will be used when there is a hatch or a sub surface activity. My 7136 will be ready to hurl a Boles indicator in between those activities.

I'm not driving 3 hours each way to make some purist happy.
 

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"Sing"
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Discussion Starter #10
yes!

I like what you said, Gramdpa Spey! :)

I used to fish the Lower Yuba a lot. That's my favarite place to fish. My Meiser 5/6 was purchased for that river. I fish the American with my 7wt T&T.

Can I come up and fish with you whne the Skalwa hatches? I caught an adult last week, but didn't see any fish keying on it. I also have a nymph/pupa patern that works like magic on the Lower Yuba I can send you a sample.

-Sing
 

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You are right that a main use of an indicator is not to detect a strike but allows you to better control a drag free drift over a longer stretch of river. That being said I was fishing the Madison River in the mid 70's when no one heard of indicators and was just casting fly and split shot up and across and stack mending and watching where the line entered the water and managed to hook alot of trout - very likely I missed more strikes than if I had an indicator on but it was very effective - it would be more effective with a long rod to help hold line off the water.

I for one am a great believer in indicators as depth control devices. I will often put a very tiny piece of cork about 3 inches above a slightly weighted damsel pattern when fishing lakes. Often the damsels during migration are within the top few inches. The weight gives me a slight jigging action and I can retreive very slowly and keep the fly in the film - this would not be possible without the small piece of cork. I cannot actually see the cork out at 70 feet or so but just track my fly line - usually however there is no mistaking the grab - just hope you don't get broken off when it comes!!
 

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pupafoo

Maybe we can get together on the lower Yuba next week. I like to fish at Sycamore Ranch, where do you fish?


I will be sending you my snail mail address for a sample of your fly.

I have a new floater that Tim Fox tied at the flyshop and some so called grass hopper flies that work well when there is a hatch and some flies I bought last year and didn't get to use.

Any steelhead activity in your American River parts?:confused:
 

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1. steelhead respond very well to dead drifted flies even when they are not fished deep and even when they aren't nymph patterns

2. I have never cast a spey rof I felt was light enough to really fish your average trout with.

3. 40 feet isn't that far away.

4. 5 feet is kinda deep for trout fishing in my opinion.

My advise... go find trout where they are actively feeding in shallower water.

The best time to fish for trout is when they are actively feeding. In streams this takes place in shallow water 90% of the time. Rarely are trout in deep waterand on the bottom actively feeding. Nymphs on the bottom of a river are not often easy prey for trout. The exception being early in the mornings on hot summer days..
actively feeding trout are nearly always feeding in association with an emergence of a hatch. These usually take place in shallow water close to the surface.

I would never target fish on the bottom in 5 feet of water, not because they can't be caught but because there are usually fish in other areas that are actively feeding. They are much easier to fish for and in my opinion much more interesting and enjoyable.
being a good trout fishermen is about knowing where to go and when to be there to find fish that are active...
 

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nymphing

Come on down or up or out to Central Oregon and fish the Metolius. The fish there will educate you in how to nymph fish. It is one of my favorite places, but I have had allot of good fisherman tell me its to tough for them. I`ll be happy to spend the day with you.

Skilly
 

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EAT IT!!!
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Well, this could find me in some hot water, but what the heck. A strike indicator is a TOOL. Without that TOOL, it is difficult, if not impossible to obtain and control a drift 40 feet out and 5 feet down. If you want to nymph for trout in water such as this, an indicator is the answer. Sure you can fish without it, but you will not fish with anywhere near the effectiveness. Sp I you want to be stubborn or cool, you can lose the indicator, but you won't catch as many fish.

As Roballen said, most actively nymphing trout are shallow. If you nymph that deep where I fish, you will catch whitefish most of the time. Not that threre are not exceptions to that, but that is often the case.

So to be the devils advocate, the best way to get a drift in water you intend to fish is to Great Lakes style Slinky fish. Or drift fish with "conventional tackle" Indicators are the way which fly fishers can compete with these methods and still fly cast. If you don't want to use them, accept that you will catch fewer fish, or you need to find shallow water where you can sight nymph, or get closer to the fish so you can high stick nymph.

The use of indicators and any other tackle for that matter is a personal one. I am not going to tell you the right or worng way to fish, and I ask the same in return. We all handicap ourselves when we fly fish to some degree, and it is up to us to decide how we want to do that. Personally I don't see anything wrong with indicator fishing for trout, especially when they aren't rising or can not be induced to come up for attractor dries. I much prefer to swing when I can, for Steelhead and trout when swinging has some chance of success, as I love the grabs more than I want to catch a ton of fish. Well I guess that is my .02 for the moment. I'll quit the ramble.
 

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"Sing"
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Discussion Starter #18
not all of us are lucky

Most of us who fish in California don't have the fortune to choose to fish in a shallower water where fish are more active.
You fish where ever you can, target the fish where they are.


-S
 

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American river...

Sing, Grandpa Spey,

Since I only live a few miles from the American river in Northern Calif, I fish the river a lot. You can catch Steelhead by using sinktips and swinging flys. I have caught 5 this year by doing this method. Others have done this too. One thing that I have really learned this year is how deadly indicator fishing really is. I am all over the river and using my spey rod. I constantly see the indicator guys doing well. Maybe its just there are more people doing that, I don't know. I also agree with the previous post that its another tool. All in all, I enjoy fishing the American by casting long distances and swinging flys. I won't probably do as well as the indicator guys, but what the heck. If my casting is ok and I don't hook up, I still go home and have enjoyed myself.:hehe:

-Doug
 

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Mr. Mom
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Hey Pupafoo

I've spent alot of time on California waters. Especially on waters like the trinity, or yuba, or feather, I frankly use a short high density sinktip, five feet of leader, and a stonefly (golden stone or uglybug) or size 10 or so wooly bugger.

The main reason is it is effective. The second reason is it makes you practice, and therefore learn awesome line control, both close in and far off. Fishing pocket water with a spey rod and the above setup will teach you more than you want to know about hitting targets, reaching and holding at specific depths, casting angles, mending, etc.

Fun way to fish, and a great way to build skills. Try it upstream of Brown's Mountain in the slots on the trinity.
 
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