Master Fishing: How to Set Up a Fly Fishing Indicator

December 10, 2021 Fishing Guides Views: 2196

The fish are rising, but you can't spot them? It's possible that it's time to use a fly fishing indicator setup. Indicators also catch fish! An indicator is a type of fly fishing line dressing that floats on top of the water and marks a fish's location when it rises for food. They come in various shapes and sizes, from small foam discs to brightly colored yarn balls. 

Try out different styles of indicators to see what works best for you on any given day. Indicators can be a great way to fish when the fish are rising, but you can't see them. Remember to keep an eye on your indicator, and set the hook when you see it disappear!

The most common type of indicator is the bobber, which consists of a small Styrofoam ball or disc that floats on the water's surface-tying it to the leader about 18-24" (45-60 cm) above your fly to use a bobber. The bobber will disappear below the surface when a fish sucks in your fly. This is the fish's indicator that something good has just swum by! If you fish alone, fish two flies at once - fish will often strike at both simultaneously.

There's no wrong way to fish with indicators - experiment until you find what works best for you.

People fish with all sorts of fly fishing indicators setups; some fairly commonly seen are the "soda/pop can setup" consisting of a pop/soda can with several hooks tied to it and then put on your leader behind the fly. This is best used in deep runs or pools where fish stay near the river's bottom. Another popular fly fishing indicator setup is the "sliding fly line loop," which consists of a loop at the end of your fly line; this loop slides up and down the entire fly line so you can fish anywhere from top to bottom.

When fly fishing, an indicator is often used as a visual aid to help detect fish strikes.

There are many different indicators available, but the most popular is the bobber. A bobber floats on the water's surface and is attached to the line above the fly. When a fish strikes, the bobber will move down the line, often relaying the fish's depth and species based on how long it takes to move down the line. The fish can also be seen swimming underneath and around the bobber, giving you a good idea of where the fish is and what sort of fish species you are dealing with. The fish bobber is commonly used in fly fishing indicator setups to detect fish strikes and fish species. There are other types of indicators available, and they can serve different functions like visual aides and depth measurements.


The fish are biting, but how do you know when they're on the line? Fly fishing can be a challenge to master, even for experienced anglers. To make sure that your fly is in the perfect spot at all times, use an indicator setup. A simple bobber float will allow you to see what's happening below the surface of the water without having to check your rod tip or reel handle constantly. Plus, it'll keep any fish from seeing exactly where you are before they bite!

Related Fly Fishing Indicator Setup Article:

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