Friday Fly Day - How To Choose The Right Indicator Dry Fly

By Chris Dore 10/16/2020

Fly Fishing In The New Zealand Back Country

Yesterday we answered Toms question regarding dry dropper rigs, and today we are looking at suitable indicator dries, and what I look for in my indicators pattern. Let’s cut to the chase with my top three things to think about when picking your indicator dry fly.

1. Wind resistance 

Once the energy from the cast hits the dry, your nymph pretty much turns over under its own momentum which can create issues if the momentum isn’t there. While large, bushy dries make for great attractor patterns and are fun to watch fish move to, their wind resistance can slow down the final stages of your turnover dramatically, especially on our longer, South Island leader systems. Consider a fly that floats well, but is a little more streamlined than that boofy rubber legged, high winged thing in the back of your box. Keep that for a solo presentation.

2. Visibility

You simply have to be able to see your indicator, well. While white wings stand out on big Wulffs and the like, they can get lost amongst the glare or foam lines when fishing more subtle patterns. Chances are your dry is but a silhouette when seen from below so don’t be afraid to go colourful when selecting your indicator dry. Yellow, orange, and black in severe glare stand out easily in a variety of conditions. If you prefer more natural colours then consider the contrast of a black / white, two tone wing or para post.

3. Consider the water 

That size 16 parachute may be just the thing for that smooth Mataura edgewater but good luck seeing it in your typical back country pocket water. Likewise that size 6 PMX bounces over that heavy water with ease but may put that lowland willow grubber on alert.

Here are a few fly suggestions from the Manic Fly Collection for these three points.

Bouncy Water

Manic Fly Collection Wicked Wulff

Wicked Wulff

Manic Fly Collection Hi Viz PMX

Hi Viz PMX

Manic Fly Collection Bum Fluff Stimmie

Bum Fluff Stimmie


Smooth Water

Manic Fly Collection Kyle's Coloboriscus Dry

Kyles Coloburiscus Dry

Manic Fly Collection Quill klink

Quill Klink

Manic Fly Collection Foam Brown Beetle

Foam Brown Beetle


Joggly Water

Manic Fly Collection Parachute Adams Hi Viz

Parachute Adams Hi Viz

Manic Fly Collection Indi Klink

Indi Klink

Manic Fly Collection Para Improved Humpy

Para Improved Humpy