Are strike indicators taboo on chalkstreams?

thetrouttickler

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Each to the own. Out of curiosity so you have regular access to a an expensive chalk stream or stream?
No, I don't. I hardly ever fish any section of river twice.

I just think the visual/stalking element is far more stimulating than catch to fill your boots.
 

Mrwayne

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OK I fish chalkstream a lot, every week.

First, I hate the stupid nonsense about dry fly only etc. But you'll find that is actually a pretty good method to catch on chalkstream.

Second sight nymphing is hard, you do need to see the fish and look for its movement.

So with that in mind I do have to say though no chalkstream fisherman should be using a god damn float. You don't need it, it's detrimental to nymphing so please just use a dry dropper if you're using a floating indicator. If you have to single nymph only use a mono indicator euro style and stop the nymph dragging from the surface.

Next point you mention catching fish vs stalking fish and catching less. I guarantee you will catch more fish by stalking and being patient than throwing a line in every 5 seconds.
 

thetrouttickler

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OK I fish chalkstream a lot, every week.

First, I hate the stupid nonsense about dry fly only etc. But you'll find that is actually a pretty good method to catch on chalkstream.

Second sight nymphing is hard, you do need to see the fish and look for its movement.

So with that in mind I do have to say though no chalkstream fisherman should be using a god damn float. You don't need it, it's detrimental to nymphing so please just use a dry dropper if you're using a floating indicator. If you have to single nymph only use a mono indicator euro style and stop the nymph dragging from the surface.

Next point you mention catching fish vs stalking fish and catching less. I guarantee you will catch more fish by stalking and being patient than throwing a line in every 5 seconds.
I mentioned a short section of coloured nylon above. I wonder whether I should try this set up on a single fly beat when the fish are nymphing:

- 9 foot tapered leader to 4x.
- add an 8 inch section of the sort of thing below (minimum diameter seems to be 4x).
- add whatever length necessary of 5x/6x tippet (minimum 3 feet).

https://www.sportfish.co.uk/rio-freshwater-2-tone-indicator-tippet.html

I would probably just rotate between a dry and a nymph leader if I used this set-up. It seems the most convenient way, rather than chopping and changing the actual leader. I dislike tippet rings, so that isn't an answer for me.

The coloured nylon can be ignored if 'sight nymphing' but will come into play in choppy water.
 
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pati

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OK I fish chalkstream a lot, every week.

First, I hate the stupid nonsense about dry fly only etc. But you'll find that is actually a pretty good method to catch on chalkstream.

Second sight nymphing is hard, you do need to see the fish and look for its movement.

So with that in mind I do have to say though no chalkstream fisherman should be using a god damn float. You don't need it, it's detrimental to nymphing so please just use a dry dropper if you're using a floating indicator. If you have to single nymph only use a mono indicator euro style and stop the nymph dragging from the surface.

Next point you mention catching fish vs stalking fish and catching less. I guarantee you will catch more fish by stalking and being patient than throwing a line in every 5 seconds.
I agree with 99% of this, except that to me dry dropper is indeed an indicator method!

As a matter of fact in rivers, in 99% of the cases it s the only indicator method you need!
 

BobP

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I agree with 99% of this, except that to me dry dropper is indeed an indicator method!

As a matter of fact in rivers, in 99% of the cases it s the only indicator method you need!
The dry is indeed an indicator. I have had many disputes about this on the forum and my question is always the same. "What do you do when the dry fly goes under?" The answer is always the same. "Strike in case it was a fish taking the nymph." Ergo, indicator fishing. That the "indicator" catches the occasional fish does not detract from its prime purpose.

I prefer to be straightforward and honest about fishing. If I want to use an indicator on a chalkstream I'll use plain old sheep's wool attached New Zealand style. That way I won't be cheating by using two flies on a chalkstream where convention allows only one.
 

thetrouttickler

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The dry is indeed an indicator. I have had many disputes about this on the forum and my question is always the same. "What do you do when the dry fly goes under?" The answer is always the same. "Strike in case it was a fish taking the nymph." Ergo, indicator fishing. That the "indicator" catches the occasional fish does not detract from its prime purpose.

I prefer to be straightforward and honest about fishing. If I want to use an indicator on a chalkstream I'll use plain old sheep's wool attached New Zealand style. That way I won't be cheating by using two flies on a chalkstream where convention allows only one.
Of course it is acting as an indicator for the nymph. Pretty hard to argue otherwise.

I think virtually every chalkstream beat I have fished to date, where nymph has been permitted, is "dry fly or nymph fished upstream only" i.e. single fly.
 

BobP

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Perfectly correct trouttickler. I do not know of a single chalkstream beat which allows the use of more than one fly on a leader other than those who keep open for grayling in the autumn/winter when more than one fly is accepted and I know a lot of chalkstream beats.
 

JohnH

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I prefer to be straightforward and honest about fishing. If I want to use an indicator on a chalkstream I'll use plain old sheep's wool attached New Zealand style. That way I won't be cheating by using two flies on a chalkstream where convention allows only one.
+1 from me !

Incidentally, if you buy one of the excellent New Zealand indicator kits, you get 4 colours of the yarn. Most of the time you will use either the white as advocated by Bob - fish will assume it's a feather - or my own slight preference of pale green which fish probably assume is a loose scrap of floating weed, often present on chalkstreams. Plus you will get orange and black, which to date I have not used but are there in reserve for extreme conditions
 

BobP

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I mentioned a short section of coloured nylon above. I wonder whether I should try this set up on a single fly beat when the fish are nymphing:

- 9 foot tapered leader to 4x.
- add an 8 inch section of the sort of thing below (minimum diameter seems to be 4x).
- add whatever length necessary of 5x/6x tippet (minimum 3 feet).

https://www.sportfish.co.uk/rio-freshwater-2-tone-indicator-tippet.html

I would probably just rotate between a dry and a nymph leader if I used this set-up. It seems the most convenient way, rather than chopping and changing the actual leader. I dislike tippet rings, so that isn't an answer for me.

The coloured nylon can be ignored if 'sight nymphing' but will come into play in choppy water.
Trouttickler,

That seems unnecessarily complicated to me. The New Zealand wool indicator style can be locked onto the leader above the knot connecting leader and tippet. If you want to change to fishing a dry fly, or to sight fishing it takes about ten seconds to remove the indicator. No alteration whatsoever to the leader.

Changing back takes a little longer, but not that much if you have attached half a dozen little sections of the tube to the tool that comes with the kit in advance. Then it takes about 30-45 seconds to attach a new indicator again without altering the leader in any way.

Incidentally, I was not in favour of tippet rings on the basis that they require more knots than simply tying a tippet to the leader - two instead of one. However, I came to the conclusion that I am prepared to accept two knots rather than have the main leader shortened through tying on fresh tippets when the one in use becomes too short. So, I use them for rivers but not for the longer, multi-fly set-ups I use on stillwaters.
 

Mrwayne

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I mentioned a short section of coloured nylon above. I wonder whether I should try this set up on a single fly beat when the fish are nymphing:

- 9 foot tapered leader to 4x.
- add an 8 inch section of the sort of thing below (minimum diameter seems to be 4x).
- add whatever length necessary of 5x/6x tippet (minimum 3 feet).

https://www.sportfish.co.uk/rio-freshwater-2-tone-indicator-tippet.html

I would probably just rotate between a dry and a nymph leader if I used this set-up. It seems the most convenient way, rather than chopping and changing the actual leader. I dislike tippet rings, so that isn't an answer for me.

The coloured nylon can be ignored if 'sight nymphing' but will come into play in choppy water.
Yep that leader setup should work OK. I was against tippet rings as unnecessary faff but I use them on every leader now nearly. If u want a similar function it's also common to tie a micro perfection loop and clinch knot the tippet to that instead.
 

JCP

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End of the day in summary to my earlier post I do not think it is so much of indicators are taboo on purist chalk streams it is more the single dry fly upstream only rule until a specified date which governs it.The following allowed nymph period is also single nymph upstream on the ''holy waters''.Here the yarn type indicator is a real asset allowing spotting fish, stalking fish, and prospecting likely lies with a simple adjustable set-up as used on the rivers of New Zealand hence the ''NZ Indicator''.If casting to a visible quarry we don't watch the indicator we should watch the fish.The indicator then only becomes an aid to the presentation of the nymph.When prospecting likely lies the indicator performs the job intended.It is a part of the evolution of fly fishing as is the high sticking techniques.I just fail to see a problem with it.

JP
 

thetrouttickler

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Thanks to all your earlier guidance on this topic, I enjoyed a stunning moment of sight nymphing success this week! I fished the Meon, and it was the largest fish I saw all day (16"), sitting in shallow, glassy water. I delayed the strike, longer than I have done before, and I think that helped. If you're interested in taking a look, some words and images can be found in my online diary: The River Beat. I hardly ever publicise it, but I'm happy to make an exception seeing how it fits so nicely into the thread's topic.
 
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Reg Wyatt

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Thanks to all your earlier guidance on this topic, I enjoyed a stunning moment of sight nymphing success this week! I fished the Meon, and it was the largest fish I saw all day (16"), sitting in shallow, glassy water. I delayed the strike, longer than I have done before, and I think that helped. If you're interested in taking a look, some words and images can be found in my online diary: The River Beat. I hardly ever publicise it, but I'm happy to make an exception seeing how it fits so nicely into the thread's topic.
Absolutely superb trouttickler. The Meon looks beautiful and some amazing looking fish. Your River Beat diary is also excellent and fantastic reading.

Reg Wyatt
 

BobP

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I think we need to accept that there are chalkstreams and there are chalkstreams. A nice crystal clear and shallow beat where fish can be spotted is everyone's ideal, but they aren't all like that. Get on the Test above Romsey and it's a different story. It would be possible to spend an entire day there and not see a single fish, not because it isn't clear, but because it is quite deep. How deep I am not sure and am not willing to get in there to find out!

So, sight nymphing on a river like the Lambourn, or the upper Itchen is a different ball game.

I had the pleasure of guiding 4 inexperienced rods on the Test yesterday and without a) the sheep wool indicator, and b) my fly boxes those guys would have gone home empty handed. As it turned out they caught 7 between them all on a gammarus pattern and a ptn. That Test standby, the daddy long legs provoked a few responses that more experienced rods would have converted, but on the whole the shrimp added to its long tally.
 

Bawnbrack

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trouttickler

I was very early into the use of indicators. 1978 on Farmoor Reservoir. No-one batted an eyelid. In 1989 I wrote an article about indicators for Trout & Salmon - the first article as far as I am aware, dedicated solely to the method. No adverse comment whatsoever. I re-hashed the piece for Fly Fishing and Fly Tying magazine about three years later. Still no adverse comment.

I think I was the first to use an indicator in an International rules competition in 1991 and later that year at the River National Final and again the following year at the International. Still no-one was that concerned.

Slowly the use of indicators increased on stillwaters and rivers alike and oddly enough, now people began to comment and certainly by 2000 there were a number of people ready to hurl abuse at anyone admitting to using indicators and worst of all - catching fish using one!

I, certainly, have been on the receiving end of quite a lot of that abuse on this forum and have been accused of cheating on more than a few occasions. Oddly enough those are often the self-same people who see nothing wrong in stripping a blob through a shoal of stockies and go home thinking they are great anglers.

Then we have the character who swears uphill and down dale that he can see the end of the fly line twitch twenty yards out in a ripple on a reservoir in grey, reflected light. I can't, but being ever willing to learn I have challenged at least half a dozen of these to come to Farmoor on a day of my choosing and show me how they do it. None has ever taken me up on it, even when I've offered to pay for their day ticket if they can definitely demonstrate that they can see the take under the above conditions and catch the fish responsible.

So, yes, I stand by my comment that indicators are frowned upon and by a larger number than you may realise. My tactics, certainly on large waters revolve around the use of buzzers fished at varying depths up to at least 10' in the early season when I will use an indicator because long experience has taught me that at that time of year that is the only way to identify takes. I caught 13 fish at Chew in late March last year and 9 of them were signalled by the indicator going under with no feeling of anything out of the ordinary in the hand. I had four friends from my club out on the same day and I caught as many as the rest of them put together. No point at all in getting the fly into the the right spot if you can't tell when a fish has taken it.

It is extremely odd that only UK anglers it seems are antagonistic towards indicators. Go to New Zealand, British Columbia, the US and anywhere in Europe indicators are in use by thinking anglers who recognise that they are an essential part of their equipment.
I think the use of 'indicators' is as old as fly fishing itself. The use of a 'bob' fly; a dry tied above a wet or nymph, is well documented. I must dig-out my copy of Trout Fishing in Brooks (Garrow Green, 1920) as I am sure he addresses this very topic. The 'bob' fly is not referred to as a 'bite indicator' but serves just that purpose. As a former army man Garrow Green took a pragmatic approach to his sport.
 
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