The dry/dropper combination is one of the most effective ways to approach fish in shallow water or suspended just beneath the surface. First of all, the dry fly tends to spook less fish than the bobber. Sometimes fish prefer the dry, and the dropper can be eliminated. At other times, fish key in on the dropper.
Fishing in British Columbia presents another challenge. Anglers may only fish one fly per rod. The dry/dropper rig is illegal. I developed the yarn indicators below for fishing in British Columbia, but I believe that they will be quite effective on spring creeks, tailwaters, and desert lakes.
I am a big fan of parachute flies, so I designed this indicator to be a parachute fly without a body or a hook. The best hook for this rig has light wire and a large eye. To construct the indicator, secure a clump of yarn about 2 inches long and the diameter of a large pen to the front 1/3 of the hook shank. Then double the yarn back so that both ends are secured parallel to the hook shank, sort of like a trude style fly. Unlike the trude style fly, the yarn should extend along both sides of the hook. Sometimes, I add dry fly hackle before I finish the indicator. Sometimes, I just build a neat head at the hook eye. Next, I use a pair of wire pliers to cut off as much of the hook as possible. The result is a parachute tied parallel, rather than perpendicular to the hook shank. I add super glue and/or head cement to the indicator following each step in the process.
On a my recent trip in July to the Upper Columbia River in British Columbia, I found a pod of rainbows rising along a gentle seam. The first couple of fish rose aggressively to an X-Caddis, but soon the others began to ignore my fly. I picked us a few more fish on a CDC caddis. However, there were several fish that would not eat my dry fly. I tied one of my yarn indicators to the end of my leader and added another 24 inches of 4X leading to a size 16 soft hackle. I made my first cast over a spot where a fish had been rising sporadically. My little yarn indicator disappeared into the river and I set the hook into a beautiful 17 inch rainbow.