Using Tiny Nymphs in Fly Fishing

Tiny nymphs are hard to see, so why would you want to fish them?

It seems to make sense that if we have a hard time seeing them that trout would also.

They can also be harder to tie to your tippet.

My large hands sometimes make it less than fun to tie one on.

I would like to thank Ken Evoy and the staff at SBI for giving me the tools to build this site. 

Good Reasons To Fish Tiny Nymphs

  • Most anglers don’t use them. On water that has received a lot of pressure from other anglers an educated trout may ignore medium to larger flies, while a small nymph may fool it. For a trout that has a strong sense of survival, small foods are safe foods.
  • Trout are creatures of habit and will see many small natural nymphs floating by. They are an abundant food for all trout. If you look at a trout’s stomach contents you will see mostly small bugs. 
  • Larger flies are available for only a short period of time while small nymphs are found in the water year round. 
  • Small nymphs expand your options. Small nymphs in the sizes 18 to 22 can imitate many different natural nymphs. 
  • Trout will need to increase the number of grabs per ounce of food. This gives you more chances to have your fly taken by a trout. 

Fly Fishing Tips For Tiny Nymphs

  •  Get as close to the trout as you can. This will allow you to get a natural drift. Stay on the bank and out of sight as much as possible. 
  • Small nymphs require small tippets. A 6X or 7X is best. These smaller tippets give the nymphs greater freedom of movement. 
  • If you choose to use a strike indicator, try to keep it as small as possible. You can use a piece of yarn or even a dry fly as your second fly. The dry fly will spook fewer trout and may even be taken instead of the small nymph.  
  • Collect some natural nymphs and compare their size to the nymphs in your fly box.  
  • Because of their small size these small nymphs are a more important food source in slower moving waters like tailwaters and spring creeks. Expending a lot of energy for such a small morsel in fast water is not worth the effort.    
  • Make sure you have a good selection of small nymphs in your fly box in sizes 16 and smaller and get in the habit of using them. I always carry an extra pair of strong reading glasses just for these nymphs. 
  • If you are still uncertain about fishing small nymphs then start with one behind a larger nymph in a two-fly setup. 

 In Summary

With the extra fishing pressure on most waters, trout have become educated. Because trout have changed, the fly fisher also needs to change mindset to remain successful. So don’t be afraid to fish tiny nymphs, they are the future of fly fishing. Return to fly fishing tips for other articles on fishing nymphs.  

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