How Do You Use an Indicator in Fly Fishing?

Fly fishing is an art form as old as time. It requires skill, patience, and a keen eye to spot the fish in the water. One of the most important tools for a successful outing on the water is an indicator. An indicator is a device used to detect the presence of fish in the water.

It can be used to tell you when there are fish nearby, or when theyโ€™ve moved off.

There are a few different types of indicators that can be used for fly fishing. The most common type is a float or bobber. This type of indicator floats on the surface of the water and is weighted so that it will stay in place when cast into the water. As fish move around, they will make small ripples on the surface which will cause the float to move up and down slightly, indicating that there are fish nearby.

Another popular type of indicator is a strike indicator. These are usually small pieces of foam or plastic that attach to your leader above your fly line. They help you detect movement in your line due to strikes from fish attacking your lure or bait.

The last type is an electronic indicator which uses sound waves to detect movement in the water caused by nearby fish. This type of indicator can be useful if youโ€™re fishing deeper waters where you cannot see any movement on the surface.

Using an Indicator

Using an indicator is relatively simple but takes practice to perfect your technique. Begin by casting your line out into the water with your fly and then attaching your chosen indicator above it so that it floats on top of the surface.

Once you have cast out, wait for any activity near your lure or bait and watch for any movement in the indicator as well as any other signs such as ripples or splashing from feeding fish.

When you spot any activity near your lure, this means that there are fish present and itโ€™s time to set up for a strike! When this happens, simply raise your rod tip quickly and firmly, setting the hook in whatever species has taken notice of your offering.


Indicators can be a great tool when fly fishing and can help take some of the guesswork out of spotting feeding fish. With practice one can become adept at using indicators and increase their chances at catching more fish!

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Lindsay Collins