Strike Indicators, Straight-line nymphing, the Best of Both Worlds

Everyone has their favorites, everyone has their own opinions, and I've definitely got mine. Each indicator/bobber has it's place and the type of water it works the best on. I'm not going to lie I almost hate nymphing but in reality nymphing is probably the single most effective method of catching trout on a regular basis. So many choices how do you decide indicator, no indicator, and if indicator which one? This is all in relationship to small spring creeks because if we're trout fishing 99% of the time it's the small springs in Missouri or in the Driftless Area. 

First no indicators which is personally my favorite way to nymph. I fish a lot of hare's ear variations with a soft hackle (Maddy's Loaded Diaper style). So not a lot of deep dredging most eats are between the bottom and lower half of the water column. These flies are not super heavy so you don't need the indicator to control depth. The advantage you can fish the nymphs a couple different ways tight line where you basically just watching the lines to pause or stop and also you're watch for flashes where you think your fly should be. On the swing casting upstream and giving it a down stream mend I also like adding a twitch or 2 to each drift/swing. The other advantage is you don't spook as many fish since you don't have the big splash from the indicator and it's way easier to cast especially with a 3wt. Disadvantages you probably miss a lot of subtle takes and if your fishing heavy flies they're going to get hung up on the bottom and you end up spooking fish yanking and jerking your fly off the rocks.

 Bobber, advantages you can easily control depths and keep heavy flies off the rocks. They are also more likely to detect those soft takes. I'm definitely not anti-bobber and fish them the few times a year we hit the bigger water, they definitely have their place. On the small creeks the only time I prefer them is in super fast water with several different currents. Other then that they suck to cast with a medium action 3wt especially if there is any breeze and in the slower shallower sections they spook fish. 

This last trip to Wisconsin I tried out the coil indicators from Strike Foundry and actually really liked it. Easier to see then watching your leader, a hell of a lot easier to cast, and I felt like I could detect a few more of those subtle takes. It has a loop on each end and the leader goes to one end and the tippet to the other. You can load it up with floatant and get it to stay on top for awhile, the only thing it lacks is the ability to float heavy flies. I think it's your best balance between visibility and not spooking fish on these little creeks. I know Landon swears by the New Zealand style indicators I haven't really given them a shot mostly because I only throw a nymph rig if I absolutely have to. Here's a picture of the Strike Foundry indicator, Plus it's a local Midwest Company and we SUPPORT THE LOCALS!