Indicator Comparison from your Bozeman Fly Shop – Fins and Feathers Bozeman
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Indicator Comparison from your Bozeman Fly Shop

Unfortunately, before we know it the days of good dry fly fishing and aggressive streamer eating trout will be over. This sad, cold day will leave us with few options but to throw a few nymphs below an indicator and stare at that majestic bright-pink chunk of plastic bobbing up and down in wait for it to slip under the surface. There are several indicator options, many are similar and many are erratically different. All of them have some pro’s and some cons. Here are our favorite indicator options along with what your Bozeman Fly Shop likes and does not like about each.


Thingamabobber – This is a classic. The pro’s include that they are Inexpensive, float great, durable, and come in variable sizes and colors. The cons are that these indicators will definitely kink your leader, tend to slide when used on skinny sections of the leader, and are not great for the environment when lost.

Airlock Strike Indicators

Air-lock Stike Indicators – Air-lock’s are very similar to thingamabobbers other than their added rubber gasket and plastic locking system. This adds both a pro and a con from the thingamabobbers. The pro is that these indicators do not kink your leaders and hold well when used on skinny tippet sizes but the con is that if the plastic twist on lock is lost, the indicator becomes unusable.

Palsa Pinch on Indicators

Palsa Indicators – The Palsa pinch-on is great for short leashing or spring creek nymphing as they do not make a huge disturbance when they hit the water and will not scare even the spookiest of fish. The downside to these is if a heavier rig is what you are after even when multiple are used they won’t hold up a rubber leg or crayfish very well.

Orvis Corqs

Orvis Corqs – Corqs feature a natural material, cork, which is two tone making it visible in many light conditions. The rubber loop used to attach your leader seems to be slightly stickier than the loop on thigamabobber but this loop will eventually wear out and break. Environmentally friendly!

Big Kahuna Strike Indicator

Big Kahuna – These indicators from Rio are a sweet twist that comes in a thick and thin size. The size and color you use is completely customizable and very very stealthy and easy to cast. Super easy to adjust depth and use multiple to detect even the smallest of strikes. The downside to the Kahuna is agin that it will not be able to hold up a heavier double nymph rig.