Tiny nymphs are a good option to try on slow moving waters with lots of fishing pressure.

Wary trout require more sophisticated methods.

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

They can be hard to tie to your tippet, and require a bit more finesse when setting the hook on a fish.

The reasons to use tiny nymphs are plentiful enough, that they should at least be considered from time to time. There are ways to work around their shortcomings.

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.

Keep reading below for reasons to use tiny nymphs and tips for fly fishing tiny nymphs.

More Reasons for Tiny Nymphs

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.

Small nymphs expand your options. Small nymphs in the sizes 18 to 22 can imitate many different natural nymphs.

Larger flies are available for only a short period of time while small nymphs are found in the water year round.

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.

Explore More Nymph Fly Fishing Techniques

Nymphs are an incredible way to land trout. Read our guides to learn more about nymphing techniques.

Tiny Nymph Fly Fishing Tips

Approach as close to the trout as you can. This allows a natural drift since your line isn’t competing with varying current speeds. 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.

Use a two-fly setup that has a larger nymph tied further up the leader and a small nymph at the end. The larger fly can attract the attention of a trout, and the smaller fly offers them a tasty morsel.

Match the Hatch everytime!

Collect some natural nymphs and compare their size to the nymphs in your fly box. Our Essential Fly Boxes help you to match the hatch while out on the water

More Tiny Nymph Tips

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. You can use the handle of an Xacto knife handle to hold smaller flies while you tie in the fly.


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.