It’s a brand new year, so why not start off with some good fly tying to get us going? You’re probably familiar with the zebra midge, but if you’re not, you should be. It’s one of those patterns that seems too simple at first glance, but is absolutely deadly in trout waters.
The zebra midge is the first fly pattern that I learned to tie. I probably cranked out 100 of these in the first week that I got my vise. It’s a pattern that you can literally tie up in about 2 minutes once you’ve got it down. They’re also a pattern that you don’t mind losing while nymphing, which I tend to do plenty of.
And while I believe the original pattern consisted of nothing more than a bead, some wire ribbing and a threaded body, you’ll find them these days in a couple of different varieties. Check out a few examples:
Zebra Midge – Tightline Productions
Zebra Midge – Fly Fish Food
Zebra Midge – Tim Cammisa
As you can see in the above examples, all 3 patterns are slightly different, while retaining the original idea of the pattern. I don’t think there is a right/wrong way here as long as you have the basic shape and pattern represented.
How I tie them
For me, I tend to tie the zebra midge much like the Fly Fish Food example above. I like the body very slim, and I like the wire ribbing to be tightly wound. I’ve also found that the dubbed thorax works better, presumably by giving the fly some better movement, and color, as it’s drifting along.
You can tie the zebra midge in a million different color combinations, but I have always found the dark brown/copper brown combination above to work quite well. You’ll need to experiment with colors, but keeping the body dark with a contrasting bead/wire has always been pretty solid.
I tie the zebra midge in sizes 14-18 and I almost always use a klinkhamer style hook, but any nymph/scud type hook should work well.
I’d say the most notable thing to remember here is being able to lay down a really smooth, tapered body. Since the thread is the body, take the time to wrap smooth, flat wraps and you’ll build up a really nice body on these.
Is the zebra midge a pattern that you’ve had success with? How do you like to tie them? Drop me a comment below and let me know about it.