by Steven Neely


Stillwater indicator fly fishing is an important technique to have in your armory when it comes to stillwater trout fishing here in the UK. To present a team of flies under an indicator takes a good floating line, but many have not been designed specifically for this type of fishing. For our ‘subtle fishing styles’ dry fly, nymphing, washing line etc RIO has all the bases covered, from the ever-reliable RIO Gold to the awesome RIO Grand, the brand has a floating line to suit.

But a ‘standard’ floater can frustrate us in certain situations, such as…

  • Stillwater Indicator fly fishing 
  • Fishing larger flies
  • Sensitivity at range

It’s funny, we think that all ‘sinking’ style lines are specialist, but the same can be said for a certain floater…. In my opinion, a highly ‘specialised’ one, which addresses the above problems. The RIO Elite Stillwater Floater is a stand-out for me, and that’s mostly in part due to its outstanding construction. It’s a line that offers more than most for us here in the UK, let me explain…

Indicator Fly Fishing line is needed to cast an indicator into a Stillwater.

RIO Indicator Fly Fishing Line – Taper

This is not a purist fly line, and you wouldn’t use it to cast dries as it’s in no way subtle; it’s a monster designed for Stillwater Indicator Fly Fishing! The taper – the area at the front end of the line that loads the rod to cast- is constructed in a manner that gives you more ‘bang for your buck!’ Although it’s not in the shooting head league, the awesome Elite Stillwater Taper is aggressive enough to allow you to cast a Stillwater Indicator long distances. A lot further than most other floaters, so that you’re covering more water. It’s an out-and-out distance thing, and it’s pretty insane.

This line is tri-coloured, green head (and teeny 2ft bright red section, more on that later) and yellow running line. You’ll know when the head is out the tip ring, there’s no need for additional false casting, you’ll see it and feel it when the line is ready to fly. But you can (I’ve tried it) push it even further, letting some running line out the tip ring and really loading your rod to its full potential. I can cast the whole line in a flat calm – here’s the crazy bit, when fishing a lure under a Bung!

This gives you the advantage of being able to far cover more water and more water equals more fish. The line shooting properties thanks to the SlickCast coating, is second to none. It glides through the rod rings as it is super smooth. The other huge benefit of this technology is that it doesn’t pick up dirt and grit, a bug bear of mine when boat fishing or casting from a dodgy, mud covered platform!

Close-up image of a Stillwater indicator fly fishing line.

RIO Indicator Fly Fishing Line – Ultra Low Stretch Core

It’s the above that gives it the speciality tag for me. I can cast, and, more importantly, fish a Bung at distance, much greater distances than a regular floater. You may say that I should fish the Bung at close range for a more direct hookup, in many cases, I’d agree. However, this line has Connect Core Plus, an ultra low stretch core. This lack of stretch, means I can set the hook at range, a massive advantage!

For small water work, it’s a ‘must-have’ fly line. And for boat fishing, when the Bung comes into play, it allows you to cover water before your boat partner, bonus! The taper on this thing also lets you cast other bigger flies and ‘wind resistant ‘patterns like the large floating fry, Minkies and the like that we fish at the back end. It has ‘GRUNT’ even with a strong wind in your face, a powerhouse, unlike any others out there

Stillwater indicator fly fishing line loaded onto a fly reel on a UK Stillwater

RIO Indicator Fly Fishing Line – Sensitivity

I love the sensitivity, everything is immediate, fishing lures on ‘the drop’ you can feel everything. The other benefit of this non-stretch core, is that even the subtlest of takes will see positive hook ups. Fly lines with stretch can lead to missed opportunities, no good when the fish are hard to come by!

The line is super-high floating, and I love this, it stays where it needs to be and is clearly visible. Take detection and fly positioning in the water column rely on this high float ability. This keeps everything where you want it, so you know where the flies are fishing. This can be difficult to gauge when the tip of your line sinks constantly.

Stillwater indicator fly fishing line hang marker close up

RIO Indicator Fly Fishing Line

Now, you may remember I mentioned the bright red front section, this part is clever in so many ways. It features Maxfloat Tip Technology, riding high on the surface so that pulling off line to recast is quick and easy, essential when covering moving fish. But it’s the visual element that it adds, with it’s bright section that lets see the tiniest of takes. The 2-foot section is a clear point of focus making you fish with far more concentration. 

The line features a hang marker, as with all of RIO’s tip or sinking lines, but pretty unique for a floater! It’s a huge benefit to me when fishing buzzers up to the boat, on the vertical hang. Similarly, when using weighted lures from high sided banks into deep water, it really comes into play. Allowing the flies to drop by stopping my retrieve at the marker is pretty lethal at times. The trout will take the sinking fly and turn for open water, pulling the line tight as it does so!

Throw in welded loops on each end and it’s easy to see why this is the ultimate floating line! It has it all, bags of technology, leading to exceptional performance when presenting flies when Stillwater Indicator Fly fishing

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