Sunday, April 6, 2014

Great Day Today …and a few thoughts on Roll Casts, a New Strike Indicator and the Leisenring Lift

Wyoming: 4/5/14. A Damn Good Sunday!

Today was a day I brushed up on a few techniques.
I didn't set out to do this, but I got into a self-tutorial mode as the events of the day unfolded. The water in the small stream I was fishing today was very clear and low. I caught a few small fish on dries, but I could see fish nymphing so I decided to try a "new" strike indicator sent to me by the inventor, Barry Dombro. Barry calls it the New Zealand Strike Indicator. It uses very fine New Zealand wool and an ingenious tool to attach the wool to your leader with a plastic sleeve.

I immediately liked this innovative indicator. I found that the position of the indicator is easily adjusted to the depth of the water you are fishing and it casts extremely well. But what I really like is this indcator is extremely sneaky and stealthy. The wool hits softly and floats like a cork. Today, I used the white wool included in the package (it also comes packaged with orange wool). I thought it would look like a raft of bubbles. 

This indicator spooked few, if any, fish. I know this because I was often able to sight nymph and saw no fish spook when the indicator hit the water. If you worry about your strike indicator spooking fish and/or you like to fish skinny clear water with a nymph, you owe it to yourself to look into this product. I would call it a "technical" strike indicator and about as far from a clumsy "bobber" as you can get while still using an indicator. I use indicators more to get a great drift than as an indicator… kinda like the way a hopper/dropper works. With the ease of depth modification this product provides, it is perfect for me.

Since this indicator is so easy to cast and I was often fishing with tall willows behind me, I really got into roll casting today. I think most anglers roll cast incorrectly. Most anglers drop their hand as they make the roll creating a high arcing loop that doesn't go far, is very inaccurate and doesn't produce a tight enough loop to slide under overhanging trees etc. I don't know where this approach started, but it is simply no good. I've looked long and hard for a good video describing the proper roll cast. I think this is a good one:

And finally, today I worked on my Leisenring Lift. This is a technique that is deadly for trout eating emergers, but it works with streamers and weighted nymphs as well. I caught many good trout using this technique today. Leisenring's technique essentially dead-drifts a fly into a prime lie, then just as the fly reaches the targeted spot, the angler lifts the fly so it rises away like a natural insect. This often incites a fish to strike.

I got many opportunities to practice the lift today. It takes patience not to give up on a drift and initiate a new cast. You must wait and slowly lift the fly off the bottom from where you think the fish should be. After having executed the "lift", I had many fish follow my nymph all the way to within a leader's length of me before finally taking it. Pretty cool!


  1. I have tried that style of indicator over the years and have tended to go away from them not because they scare fish but because they are too attractive. Often if an individual trout is taking nymphs and dries sometimes it takes the indicator which is very annoying! If I need an indicator for our big high country trout I will often use a dry fly and tie the nymph on to the bend of the hook as a dropper as you describe. I guess it is always adapting to what the trout are doing at the time you are fishing.

  2. Some real nice fish there, Scott. Always enjoy your photos.