The challenges of subsurface fishing in high-gradient, boulder strewn rivers during winter months can frustrate anglers of any skill level. Boulders in these streams create spaces between rocks where trout can spend much of their time feeding without emerging. To make matters worse, heavy flows through these substrates can create complex currents that make strike detection difficult, if not impossible.
Solving this problem is easier than it seems; just use enough weight to keep your flies deep in the strike zone. Equipped with an adequately weighted rig, the angler's job is to maintain the tension by casting short, high sticking, and keeping the line as straight as possible through the drift.
At times, you should actually drag your flies through a promising slot, not too fast, but just enough to keep things tight. Remember, fish in fast water don't have a lot of decision time and, therefore, often strike on impulse.
You should be able to feel most strikes on the tight line when you're fishing this way, so indicators aren't necessary. In this situation, they usually only distract the angler from what they should be doing: maintaining tension on the line.
The Reel Life Sante Fe