Ode to the Zebra Midge

Ode to the Zebra Midge

December 18, 2018

Winter here in Colorado consists of fly fisherman flocking to local tailwaters, searching for open water that hasn’t frozen over yet. Anglers tie size 6x or 7x tippet to the end of their leaders and attach tiny flies to fool the resident trout. There are literally hundreds of flies and variations of patterns that an angler can use. One of my favorite patterns to have on hand is the zebra midge. This is a very simple pattern to tie, consisting nothing more of a hook, bead, thread, and some wire. The zebra midge can be tied in a matter of minutes, really the hardest part is getting the tiny bead on the tiny hook. Which makes it a perfect candidate to fill up an entire box while you're binge watching Netflix. I have a box filled with size 20-26 zebra midges in black, brown, grey, green, white and red. This range of color and sizes gives me the ability to match a broad range of midge hatches primarily when they are in their larva stage.

Midges in their adult life form are small two-winged flies which begin their lives on the bottom of the river as eggs. In between those phases, midges spend their lives as larvae and pupae. These insects can be found in extremely large concentrations which make them a sustainable food source for trout year-round. Zebra Midges are a simple and effective pattern that make a tasty looking trout meal, even during these cold months.

Hook: Firehole Sticks 317 Size 20

Thread: Uni-thread Olive 6/0

Head: Black Glass Bead

Rib: Copper Wire X-Sm


A Humble Zebra Midge How-To

1. Get a bead head on the hook and wrap your thread down to the end of the body.
zebra midge
2. Tie in a piece of wire along the body. Wrap thread up to the head and back down again.
zebra midge
3. Continue wrapping the thread up and back until you create a good taper in the body.
zebra midge
4. Wrap the wire up for about 4-5 times up to the head.
zebra midge
5. Tie the wire off with the thread, and finish with a tiny dab of head cement.
zebra midge
6. Rinse and repeat until you're spending more time putting the bead on the hook than tying the fly.

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