How to Tie the Indicator Knot – Open Loop Version

The indicator knot is used to tie indicators to a tippet or a leader and is considered to be one of the easiest to tie. The open-loop method of connecting an indicator made of yarn allows anglers to use a small indicator and small flies, which come in pretty handy in shallow water.

Large indicators can spook fish easily, so the open-loop version of the knot can prove invaluable. 

Tying the Indicator Knot

Indicator Knot

Step 1

Make a yarn indicator by cutting off half a hank of yarn according to the fly size and the condition of the water where you are fishing. 

Step 2

Make an open overhand knot in the part of the leader where you want the indicator to be.

Step 3

Thread the yarn through the loop and pull it tight to secure. Use your fingers to fluff the yarn fibers and coat the indicator with fly floatant to make it waterproof. 

Open Loop Indicator Knot
How to tie an indicator knot
An indicator knot holding on to some colored string.

Indicator Knots for Fly Fishing

  • When to use a fly fishing strike indicator knot – Strike indicator fly fishing knots are ideal for nymphing for several reasons. One, it doesn’t slip towards the fly or flies each time you cast, two, it keeps the leader afloat around the butt section and three. It can allow you to locate your dry fly quickly. 
  • Common indicator knot – Can be used to attach a tippet to a leader and can be opened easily to remove the indicator. 

Advantages and Disadvantages

Specific indicator knots such as the strike indicator come in handy in choppy water. It keeps the end line afloat around the butt section and prevents it from getting too wet. It also allows anglers to locate their dry fly fast in rough water. With enough experience, you can see the fish strike.

The one thing you need to be careful of is the size of the loop. If the loop is kept fairly open or is wound around a thick chunk of yarn, the yarn may slip out while you are casting. 


Egg Loop Knot – This fishing knot is ideal for salmon and steelhead fishing. The loop that is formed can accommodate roe or eggs comfortably. 

Bobber Stopper Knot – This knot can be tied right above a sliding fishing bobber i.e., where you want the bobber to stop at the depth you want. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is Lightning Strike Indicator yarn?

A: This is a biodegradable yarn that is treated with high floating Watershed. 

Q: What do I do to ensure a knot is good and tight.

A: Before you pull it tight, moisten the line, and it will hold firm as you draw. 

Jon Stenstrom
Founder & Angler
Jon Stenstrom is a fishing and spearfishing enthusiast. He's been fishing since he was 5 years old in the backcountry of Yosemite for trout and in the surf near his home in SoCal. Over the past 4 years, he's been spearfishing up and down the coast of California. He started Cast and Spear to help inspire others to get outside and chase their dream fish. Notable catches include spearing a 65-pound white sea bass, large grouper, and yellowtail down in Baja. When he's not in the water, he's usually fishing from his Gregor Baja aluminum boat or inflatable Takacat catamaran.
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Articles » Skills » Fishing Knots » How to Tie the Indicator Knot – Open Loop Version

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