Whether dead drifting traditional nymphs along the bottom of your local trout stream or bouncing salmon flesh/egg imitations down a run in Western Alaska, the technique of nymphing (i.e. dead-drifting subsurface flies to feeding fish) is without a doubt one of the most effective methods for catching trout in moving water.
Moreover, when nymphing for trout its hard to argue against the effectiveness of a strike indicator. Not only do they allow you to better monitor your drift, indicators also help detect subtle strikes that might otherwise go unnoticed.. Both good things.
That being said, if you’ve spent enough time fishing under an indicator, odds are you’ve witnessed a fish or two trying to eat your indicator rather than, you know, your fly! Sound familiar?
During the back-half of our season in Alaska, particularly once our resident trout and dolly varden begin to key in on salmon eggs and flesh, we notice a huge increase in the likelihood of trout and dolly varden smacking large ‘bobber-style’ strike indicators, especially those in colors that resemble salmon eggs (reds, oranges, pinks, etc.).
Sounds kind of cool, right? It is, except that every fish that attacks your indicator is one less fish keying in on your fly, not to mention the number of fish who may have looked up at your indicator as your offering drifted on by unnoticed.
The solution? Fish neutral color indicators! For most of our nymphing needs, we’ve resorted to strike indicators in colors such as white, black, yellow, or green. We see far less fish attempting to eat them on the surface, and it certainly gives us more confidence that the fish are focusing on what counts.. Our fly!