Aaron Jasper of Trout Predator Online shares with us three variations of a Zebra Midge in this short fly tying video. Super simple yet highly effective midge patterns that will help make your winter fly fishing more productive.

What is a Midge, Anyway?

Last Friday night, in a state of delirium and jet-lag, we reviewed the midge life cycle and I posed the question "What is a Midge, anyway?" As I surmised, the term "midge" is often loosely used by fly fisherman to represent just about any tiny fly as well as true midges. The latter comprise many kinds of two-winged flies of the order Diptera the most important of which to trout are the Chironomids.

Midge Fly Patterns

It is helpful to have a basic understanding of the the midge life cycle which has distant larval and pupal stages between the egg and adult stages. Most midge fly patterns mimic these various stages and can be generally classified as larva patterns, pupa patterns, emergers and adult. What's great about the Zebra midge is that it can be tied to represent all but the adult midge.

Chironomid Larvae (photo by Eric Lind)

Chironomid Larvae (photo by Eric Lind)

Midge Larvae Patterns

Midge larvae are simple and worm-like, slender in body with distinct segmentation. The head and body are not well developed and blend in with the rest of the body. If you omit the beadhead, the first Zebra midge pattern Aaron ties in the above video imitates a midge larva where a thin thread base is used to maintain a slim profile and the wire ribbing is used to imitate the body segmentation.

Chironomid Pupa (photo by Brian Chan)

Chironomid Pupa (photo by Brian Chan)

Midge Pupae Patterns

In the midge pupa the thorax becomes larger and more pronounced with obvious wing pads and gills. Midge pupae patterns incorporate fur dubbing, peacock hurl and a host of other materials to simulate the enlarged thorax area as Aaron has done in the second and third variations of the Zebra midge shown in the fly tying video above.

More Midges Next Week

While Old Man Winter still has us in his grip, at least here in the eastern US where I live, we'll continue with more midge fly patterns next week and take a look at some fun midge emergers.

Happy tying!