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Zebra Midge Fly Pattern- One Of The Best Flies

Zebra Midge Fly Pattern- One Of The Best Flies

The zebra midge is one of the most popular flies of all time. It can catch trout just about anywhere in the world – in lakes and rivers. Most fly anglers will be familiar with this fly, but newbies may not have heard of it.

The zebra midge is definitely an essential fly to have in your fly boxes. As you fish them more, you will quickly find that it is a super productive nymph. They can be tied in a variety of sizes and colors to match any condition.

During the winter months, it is one of my most productive flies on the river. However, midges hatch year round, so you can fish them whenever you want.

This article will cover the benefits of zebra midges. I truly love this fly, and hopefully this will inspire you to tie some up (or buy them). When beginners are curious about which flies to get, I always suggest the zebra midge as one of their first patterns.

Zebra Midges Work All Of The Time

In the winter, midges are really the only fly hatch in rivers. This is why we fish so many midge patterns during the winter months. However, midges hatch every month of the year – so don’t be afraid to fish them during the warmer months.

It is harder to go wrong with a zebra midge on your rig. They work extremely well in rivers, but they make a great lake fly as well. Trout will mistake them for a chironomid, which can make for some really productive fishing.

There are very few flies that work all the time, but the zebra midge is one of them.

Zebras Are Extremely Easy To Tie

The zebra is a very simple fly to tie. All you need is hooks, beads, thread and ultra wire. Beginner tyers can have success with this fly in a short amount of time – it doesn’t take much practice. Fly tying classes often start off with the zebra. Beginners can get satisfaction by tying an easy first fly – then they can move on to harder patterns.

Advanced fly tyers can whip out dozens of these flies quickly – it is a very easy fly to put into production mode. This is why guides also love the zebra – it is a true “guide fly” – fast and easy to tie. When clients lose them on the bottom of the river, guides aren’t too worried about it.

Many Color Variations Of The Zebra

There are so many colors you can use for a zebra midge. Traditionally, red, blacks and browns are the most common colors. However, any color can work. I like purple, wine, blue, etc. Depending on which river you’re fishing, trout can really key in on a certain color.

For lake fishing, I really like red zebra midges. It is usually my top performing color for some reason. A lot of chironomids in lakes are a red-ish color, so this could be the reason. Next time you head to a trout lake, make sure to have some red zebras.

Also, next time you’re at the vise, play around with zebra midge colors – you just might find a new variation that catches lots of trout. Using different colored wires can also be beneficial. Bright colored ultra wires can make these flies “pop” and catch a trouts attention. I have a whole rack of ultra wires for this type of tying – try chartreuse, red, blue, etc.

They Work Well On Jig Hooks

I think zebras look good on jig hooks. They have a different profile and they will snag the bottom way less often. After i’m done tying a jigged zebra, i’ll add a coat of UV resin for durability and shine.

I have mostly transitioned to only fishing jigged zebras. To me, they look much better than the originals. They work well for Euro nymphing, but I fish them under an indicator as well.

Jigged flies have become very popular in recent years, and they make some great jigged midges as well.

Saving Money By Tying

It is often stated that “You can’t save money by tying flies.” This couldn’t be further from the truth, especially with zebra midges. Besides the hooks and beads, they basically cost nothing to tie. This is definitely a fly that you can avoid buying – you can tie dozens for a very minimal cost.

Sometimes I cringe when anglers come into the fly shop to buy zebra midges – they could save so much by going home and tying some! However, if you’re not a tyer, buying them is understandable.

A Winter Staple

Winter fly fisherman love to have well stocked midge fly boxes. Since it is the only winter hatch, it is important to have plenty of midge patterns on hand. The zebra midge usually takes the priority in many fly anglers boxes. It is tried and true, and anglers know that it will catch trout.

For this reason, the zebra midge is definitely a staple fly during the winter months. I never leave home without them!

However, if you’re not a winter fly fisher – having zebras on hand is never a bad idea. Fishing them in spring, summer and fall can also produce plenty of trout.


Fly patterns really come down to personal preference. Some anglers will swear by a certain pattern, while other anglers won’t fish it at all. This is what makes fly fishing so fun – you develop your preferences over time – by finding what catches fish and what doesn’t.

It is my personal opinion that the zebra is a very productive fly, but many anglers also share this opinion. Give them a try and catch some trout!