First, a disclaimer: There is absolutely nothing wrong with fishing nymphs with a strike indicator. For a lot of folks, this is a go-to rig for nymphing, and it can be very effective.
But, as Garrison Doctor of Rep Your Water points out in the video below, using an indicator isn’t the most … delicate way to chase tailwater or low-water trout, particularly in winter or early spring, when water is low and clear.
Trout Tips | Ditch the Indicator from Trout Unlimited on Vimeo.
As Garrison points out, the impact of a strike indicator, even a small yarn indicator, can be enough to spook trout, or at least put them on guard. And, he notes, fishing without an indicator can present a fly naturally.
Euro-nymphing is become more of a standard method here in the U.S., and there is a lot of literature out there that can help you become more adept at nymphing without an indicator. And the bonus, of course, will be more consistent catching. Next time you’re fishing to wary trout in low, clear water, consider going without the bobber.
— Chris Hunt