Indicators

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Love them or hate them, indicators are here to stay. They give you a focal point, help you dead-drift your flies more productively, and help you locate your flies at long distances. In stillwaters, use indicators and a long leader to suspend your chironomid imitation just inches from the bottom where the trout are likely feeding.

1 Angling Evolution Fish Pimp Six for $6

Every wonder why golf balls have those dimples? It makes them go farther. Fish Pimp indicators have the same dimpled surface for the same reasonthey have less wind resistance and are easier to cast. There are two ways to attach these to your leaderthe "easy-on, easy-off" method is just to slide the butt section of your leader into the slot running the length of the indicator and twist it around the surgical tubing. For the "dead-drift method" slide the tippet end through the surgical tubing, and through the hole in the indicator (not the slot). Squeeze the tubing back into the slot and it creates a 90-degree indicator rig. fishpimpco.com


2 Thingamabobber with Jam-Stop Five for $5

We conducted an informal poll on the Fly Fisherman Facebook page on "your favorite indicators," and Thingamabobber came out the popular winner. People love it because it floats like a balloon indicator, but it's much easier to take on and off. Just pinch a loop of leader, thread it through the hole, and push the indicator through the loop to girth-hitch the indicator in place most of the time. We've noticed that when placed on thin tippet sections, the girth-hitch sometimes slips. To prevent this, the masterminds at West Water Products invented the "Jam-Stop Widget" to lock down the Thingamabobber for flawless flotation. westwaterproducts.com

3 Thill Bite Strike $2


Thill makes premium fishing floats for serious conventional anglerseverything from bobbers for crappie fishing to Nite Brite Lighted Floats for night fishing. The Bite Strike indicator is the only indicator on this page cut from balsa wood. We've used these indicators for years for Great Lakes steelhead and love the durability and aerodynamic shape. They are easy to cast, cause fewer tangles, and they last forever. We recommend skipping the packaged "toothpick." Just thread the leader though the Thill twice, and the indicator will stay put while casting, and is still easy to adjust. lindyfishingtackle.com

4 Boles Flote Rite Two for $7

Guide Lonnie Boles learned to row a drift boat on the Sacramento River before he learned to drive a car. Today he guides 300 days per year on the Lower Sac, Trinity, and Feather rivers, where indicator fishing gets most of the fish to the boat. Boles Flote Rite has the buoyancy of the large home-grown yarn indicators popularized in the region years ago, and a highly visible upright peg like a stillwater crappie rig. The peg translates even subtle bites into a telltale wiggle you can see at 60 feet, but more important, it helps you monitor your drift and determine whether your flies are upstream or downstream of the indicator. theflyshop.com

5 Frog Hair Ultimate Reusable Three for $7

Frog Hair indicators use a "threader" to pull the tippet through the center of the indicatorthe same type of tool used to thread your fly-tying bobbin, or to thread tippet through extremely tiny flies. Just slip your tippet into the looped end of the pre-set threader, and pull the end of the threader to pull the threader (and the tippet) up through the indicator. If you use the threader on the narrow tippet and then slide the indicator up toward the butt section, it won't kink your leader. froghairfishing.com

6 Insta-Set Four for $5

The "genius" of Insta-Set indicators is the brightly colored surgical tubing doubled, and threaded through a hole in a painted Styrofoam ball. Thread your leader through the looped portion, and pull on the "rabbit ears" end, and you'll snug the leader butt up against the float. This straight-line position is perfect for shallow-water nymphing or for floating nymphs and hard-to-see drys. You can also pull the leader right up inside the float and create a 90-degree bend in the leader for deepwater nymphing. The rabbit ears not only telegraph strikes, they tell you if your nymphs are dragging the bottom or racing downstream. umpqua.com

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