Published Dec 2. 2014 - 9 years ago
Updated or edited Oct 12. 2023

Microjig nymphs and small streams

One of the ways to fish small, fast, rocky streams is Czech nymphing with microjigs.

Small, fast, rocky -
Small streams can be challenging
Petr Holecek

Small stream fly fishing can be quite a big challenge. They are often fast, small waters, full of rocks, deep pools and broken barriers. The level of water varies according to the season and it greatly tarnishes after rain. Hatching insects are relatively rare. One of the ways to flyfish there is Czech nymphing with microjigs.


Microjigs - these small beadheaded and weighted flies are ideal for rapid streams and smaller rivers. They are also excellent at a higher water level and in dark water, too.
I catch mostly in the cold weather in the spring or autumn with these flies. Especially if nothing is hatching and there is no visible surface activity. On the other hand they often lose their effectiveness in very clean and shallow or slow water.

Small olive mayfly -
The prize -
Petr Holecek
Fishing on a small stream -
Fishing right under the rod tip.
Petr Holecek

Equipment and techniques

As has been said, the basic technique which I use is Czech nymphing. It is not rocket science. Depending on the size of the river and the fish, I most often choose a 9.6/10 feet long rod and AFTMA 3 or 4. I prefer softer rods with longer action. This allows me more accurate shooting and mainly helps me detect fish strikes better. Only if the bank is overgrown and I cannot lead flies with a longer rod, I use a long nymphing method against the current with a shorter rod - eg. 8.6 and 3 AFTMA. The leader and strike indicator are a crucial part of the whole assembly.

The leader should be untapered and ¾ the length of the rod you are using. If you do not feel that you are in touch with the top fly, trim the leader. Depending on the water, I mostly use a rig with two flies - a microjig as the top fly and a wet fly or nymph as the dropper. The whole rig is made of the same diameter nylon or fluorocarbon with a thickness of 0.10-0.12 mm (6-7X). When the fish are big or the water is turbid, the leader is 0.14 mm strong (5X).
The top fly and the dropper are separated by a distance of 50-70 cm or a couple of feet. The dropper itself is about 12 cm or 4 inches long. Finally, between the leader and the line there is still attached a 30 to 60 cm or 1-2' long strike indicator. Polarized glasses are also mandatory equipment . Without them it is difficult to correctly recognize the strike of a fish.

Fishing itself is then done with about 60 cm or a couple of feet of fly line out of the tip top and I control the freely drifting flies under the rod tip and move upstream. If the water is dark, it is best to fish downstream with a longer leader.
You do not necessarily have to reach all the way to the bottom if the fish are active and collect for example emergers,
I drift the flies and raise the rod tip with different speeds at the same time. Where it is not possible to lead flies directly under the rod tip, I cast upstream with one fly and a longer leader and maintain the contact with the fly using constant pulling of the line. For successful fly fishing - Czech nymphing or long nymph - constant contact with the flies is absolutely crucial. If there is no contact, you will probably be less successful.

My favorite patterns

The origin of the jigs is difficult to track down. According to the available literature they come from Austria, probably from the river Traun. They were brought and started to use by fly fishing competitors for the Czech nymphing style. Their use is not limited only to this type of fishing. They are also excellent for French and other nymphing techniques. The main character is a special microjig hook size 16-18 and a heavy load using a special tungsten bead.
Thanks to the shape of the tungsten and the hook you can lead the fly by the bottom without too much difficulty and snagging.
The advantage of the microjigs is an exact presentation in the water column - not a perfect insect imitation.
For tying microjigs I use standard materials as for other flies. It is nothing special. You can tie all kinds of nymphs as well as microjigs and also a number of your successful wet flies. It all depends on your imagination.

The advantage of the microjigs is an exact presentation in the water column - not a perfect insect imitation.

CH Pheasant Tail nymph -
Petr Holecek

CH Pheasant Tail

Copper Head Pheasant Tail is another classical effective fly. It can be tied in an infinite number of variations of copper, gold, silver, black or even orange head. The body can be created with different colors of pheasant. My favorite option is the pattern with a copper head and the body from natural pheasant with pink synthetic dubbing collar.

Grayling nymph -
Petr Holecek

Grayling Nymph

This fly is my favourite grayling microjig. I often use it in the size 18 in combination with spiders - for example Snipe and Purple or Orange and Partridge. The body with a silver bead head is from a gold tinsel with a silver wire rib. Artificial peacock Hends SA 45 is used on the collar.

Pink nymph -
Petr Holecek

Pink Nymph

Pink nymph is another great fly for grayling and trout as well as for rainbow trout. It is usable all the year round. I am using a tungsten bead head with gold, silver or pink color.

Hare Ear Nymph -
Petr Holecek

Hare Ear Nymph

It is a classical pattern for the entire season. I form the body with lighter hare hair with a small amount of pearl tinsel and pale olive tying thread. It can be bound in various modifications - for example spring variation is with a gold head and a green collar, autumn one is then with a gold or pink head and a red collar.

Peacock nymph -
Petr Holecek

Peacock Nymph

Peacock nymph is an effective summer and autumn fly for clear water. The body is from the artificial peacock with copper wire rib and natural hare collar. For this pattern I use only black tungsten bead.

GH Orange Tag -
Petr Holecek

GH Orange Tag

Gold Head Orange Tag and its variations - Yellow or Red Tag are simple and very effective search patterns. In the late summer and autumn it is often taken by big grayling. I have recently been using artificial peacock for the fly body. I think it is more efficient.

Step 1 - tungsten bead

Step 2 - tail and rib

Step 3 - body

Step 4 - rib

Step 5 - collar

Step 6 - whip finish

GH Hare Ear Microjig
Pattern type: 
Hanak Competition Jig Wave, size 16
2.5 - 2.8mm Slotted Gold Disco Tungsten Bead
Tiemco 10/0 Light Brown or Yellow
Light Partridge
Gold Tinsel
Ice Hare Dubbing
Pink Synthetic Dubbing
Skill level/difficulty: 
  1. Begin by putting the disco tungsten bead on the hook.
  2. Create a tail from light partridge. But do not tie it down the bend of the hook. Trim fibers at the bead head, so you will get more regular body. The tail should be as long as the jig body. Attach the tinsel.
  3. Form a tapered nymph body with Ice Hare Dubbing. Natural hare or rabbit hair will also work fine.
  4. Wind up the gold tinsel rib, fix it behind the tungsten bead.
  5. The pink collar serves as an attractor. I prefer different significant material colors. Create it by winding the dubbing at the head of the fly.
  6. Whip finish the fly.


According to my experience I can recommend to try to nymph with microjigs. You will be surprised how effective they are in small streams. A proper control of flies and strike recognition takes a little practice, but eventually you get there. I believe that your collection of microjigs in your flybox will gradually grow and you will find even more successful patterns.


Hi, Thank you ver...


Thank you very much for your comments. Jig hooks size 16 down are made even by other manufacturers - Hanak Competition, Hends Products (Czech Republic). They can be bought even in some European e-shops.

Have a nice day,

Nice article,great l...

Nice article,great little flies, @Matt: you can get the jig hooks through Allen Flyfishing, They make them down to a size 18,tight lines & bent rods.

Bob Marriotts Fly Sh...

Bob Marriotts Fly Shop and The Fly Shop in Redding CA have Tiemco micro jig hooks. Also Blue Quill Angler , and Allen Fly Fishing has hooks and slotted beads down to size 18.

Me again, I did a WW...

Me again, I did a WWW search and found the following:

*Umpqua Tiemco, 403BLJ, 60 degree bend, wide gap, sizes 8 thru16;
*Allen Flyfishing, J100BL, barbless, thin wire, 60 degree bend, in sizes 8 thru 18;
*Saber Fly Hooks, 5220, 60 degree bend, barbless, and listed at US$6.99 per sizes 8 thru 18.

Great article. I ha...

Great article. I have found 10 & 12 jigs with lead heads at 1/80 and 1/100 ounces at a local outdoor store. (Bob's Sporting Goods in Longview Washington USA) But no where else. But 16's !!!???...that would be nice...14's too.
?Maybe I'll try bending the eyes on other hooks? What do you think?


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