First, feeding lanes in small waters are generally smaller than they are on their larger cousins. A pocket of water that runs two feet wide, four feet long, and three feet deep is a smaller area to fish than a pocket that is eight feet wide, twelve feet long, and five feet deep. On small waters fish are more confined in each pocket, that being said, there are generally more pockets than there are on larger rivers, which means more fishing opportunities, but that’s a discussion for another day. The fish are a lot more forgiving about depth and are more willing to move out of their initial food lane into another when a food item is presented.
But, there is a secret to nymphing on Small Waters and we’re going to let you in on it. You have to use a bead head, and preferably a beadhead that is made out of tungsten. Why, you might ask. The pocket water that we fish on small waters is small and fast. Some of those pockets might be no more than a couple of feet long and a foot deep, the water is flowing through that pocket so fast that the nymph is out of it within two or three seconds of you throwing it into the top of the pocket. A beadhead is going to force that nymph down, and a tungsten bead is going to force it down faster than a brass bead. Even though fish on small waters are more opportunistic, they are still not going to take a nymph that is floating on the surface, they aren’t dumb.