What is the smallest size fly YOU swing for steelhead.

I am starting to tie for the fall swinging season on columbia tribs, and of course I am expecting low clear water that time of year. I am curious to know what is the smallest size of fly you guys swing for steelhead. I have yet to get a fish on the swing, yet I have caught a few nymphing some pretty small stuff.


still an authority on nothing
exactly same for me.
#10 Queen of the Waters,
#14 Nondescript nymph, been years since I used that for steel.
I got one on a 14 copper john last year, and that is what really made me start questioning the "need" for huge spey style swinging patterns. I have been tying on some Alec Jackson size 8's I believe, and to me, they look real fishy


Active Member
i think their is a big difference between swinging a very small fly and nymphing one as you are trying to get the fish to move to the fly rather than feed from a stationary position... not that it cant be effective but i really dont have confidence in swinging anything below an 8...
I have swung flies down to size 14's but normally size 8's and 10's are about as far as i go. The problem i have with going smaller than 8's is picking up smaller trout that are more plentiful and more willing to bite. Kinda gives that false sense of getting a tug only to find out its only a 12"er.


Rod tubes in the overhead compartment
This was with a singler hander, but still....

I have gotten a few swinging sz 14 olive flashback hares ear nymphs to summer and fall run fish that have started to mellow and act more trouty. I wasn't thinking steelhead at the time.
These were hatchery fish in wisconsin; if that matters. I don't think it does. Oh yeah, and in MI ive gotten a couple of fish on swung, articulated hex nymphs.