Small flies can be tough to tie on to tippet streamside using some of the more traditional knots, like the improved clinch knot, simply because, when completed, the knot is too big.
I started using the Davy knot as a substitute for small flies a few years back, and I’ve never had one fail in a situation where an improved clinch would have held. It’s a strong knot. It’s compact. And, best of all, it’s really easy to tie.
Above, Tim Flagler demonstrates the uses of a Davy knot, notes that its unassuming appearance is good for smaller flies being presented to finicky trout. It’s a great tailwater knot, and I’ve found it really works well for small flies or double-nymph rigs in the winter. For nymphing, this is not my go-to knot. For larger flies, like bigger dries or even streamers, the Double Davy (also demonstrated above), is a good choice, too.
Practice a bit, and see if you don’t think the Davy knot is a good substitute for smaller flies. I’m betting you will.
— Chris Hunt