As a certifiable small-stream fly fishing fiend, I’m always on the lookout for killer small stream dry flies.

My standard — when nothing is hatching or otherwise happening — is a Parachute Beetle Bug, which is basically a gaudy red Western Adams. It works and ties easy, but I have poked around foam flies a bit, thinking they’d float longer (little fish can drown a proper dry pretty quickly).

So when I stumbled on these bad boys at the Arizona Wanderings site, I was intrigued:

Arizona Mini-Hoppers

Ultimate Small Stream dry fly?

He calls these #12 flies the Arizona Mini-Hopper, and while I’m not sure about the hopper bit, they do ring my “buggy looking” chimes.

A downwing caddis-style fly with a foam back and rubber legs (which you can simply pull off for a more streamlined appearance), Ben was kind enough to send me a few to test, and the results have been favorable.

They float extremely well — even after being mauled by a steady stream of little fish — and they work, even on the flatter water.

I won’t pretend that small stream trout are the most selective on the planet, but I have plenty of experience with days where one fly handily outfished a couple others.

The Mini-Hopper has — so far — performed as well as anything else, and because it floats so nicely, may become my generic “go-to” fly (the one I fish when nothing obvious is happening on the water).

It doesn’t look hard to tie, and because it seems to fall into a niche where it’s handily imitating everything from a caddis to a terrestrial, you can see why it might find steady employment on the pointy end of a small stream addict’s leader.

Any ideas from the Undergrounders?

See you on a small stream, Tom Chandler.