Essential Midge Patterns for Fly Fishing

Essential Midge Patterns for Fly Fishing

Midge patterns form an essential part of any fly box throughout the fishing year. So, before you dash off on your next fishing expedition, be sure to equip yourself with a few of these ‘killer’ midge patterns. And we’re here to help you with nine essential options.

Essential Midge Patterns for Fly Fishing

Midge patterns form an essential part of any fly box throughout the fishing year. So, before you dash off on your next fishing expedition, be sure to equip yourself with a few of these ‘killer’ midge patterns. And we’re here to help you with nine essential options.

  1. Mercury Midge Black
  2. Crystal Midge
  3. Zebra Midge Black
  4. Brassy
  5. Disco Midge
  6. Flash Light Midge
  7. Rainbow Warrior
  8. Juju Bee Midge
  9. Rojo Midge

If you have any experience in the world of fly fishing, one thing you might find very surprising is the fact that so many of the flies are very small. And if you’re a first-timer to the ‘game,’ you will probably end up wondering if any fish will be interested in something so little, especially if you see someone whip up a midge pattern for the first time. Will the fish even be able to see it? Well, the simple answer is yes. Those small fly fishing flies for trout are more than a staple in the diet of any trout.

Whether you’re a rookie or have some fishing experience, there is always enough room to improve your game and catch. And one of the best ways to do this is by learning the fishing flies assortment you need to carry in your fly box and why they’re so important throughout all the year fly fishing.

So, are you looking for ways to improve your catching odds? Then this article is for you. We’re going to take a look at the nine midge patterns worth trying out on your next fishing adventure. 

If you’re ready, consider this your fly fishing flies 101. Now, let’s get started.

Mercury Midge

Mercury Midge Black

Suppose you’re looking for the killer bait with an impressive track record of successfully fooling hard-fished, selective trout for several years. In that case, you’re probably looking for the Mercury Midge Black. When we say “several years,” exactly how many years do we mean? Well, how does “over 20 years” sound?

One of the things that have made this pattern so successful over the years is the clear and silver-lined glass bead. The intricate design gives it a remarkable resemblance to a glass bubble trapped in the thorax of a midge as it emerges.

The Mercury Midge Black derives its name from the fly’s head area, which resembles a tiny tube filled with mercury. The logical thing to do was to name it the Mercury Midge Black pattern. As we have already mentioned, this pattern is one of the most effective in fly fishing for trout, especially when you combine this as a tailing fly in a two rig setup.

You can easily trail the Top Secrete Midges and Black Beauties during the peaks of a midge appearance.

Pro tip: When using this pattern, you can try dropping a mayfly emerger to resemble food commonly found in tailwater fisheries. If you want to try fishing with three flies, you can trail your Mercury Midge Black off a heavier Copper John, and then trail a mayfly emerger such as a RS2 8 to 12 inches off the hook of the midge.

The Mercury Midge Black comes in different sizes - 16, 18, 20, and 22. Plus, aside from the black color, you can also choose from olive and white options.

Crystal Midge - Drifthook Fly Fishing - Best Fly Fishing Flies Kit

Crystal Midge

Up next, we have the Crystal Midge. If you are looking for something a little more flashy, then you might want to buy a few Crystal Midges. If you have ever used this little ‘killer’ pattern, that means you have already experienced some great fishing days.

Its design ensures that this midge sinks quickly; no wasting time here. It comes with flashabou wings and a tungsten head that feels pretty heavy - hence the quick sinking nature. If you think the Mercury Midge Black has an impressive record with trout, then think again. The Crystal Midge pattern likes to make quite an entrance, as it draws the attention of any fish in the ‘room.’ However, it is even more effective when you’re looking for finicky fish or casting in off-colored waters.

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It is usually available in two main sizes; 14 and 16. But, no matter which size you opt for, the Crystal Midge is guaranteed to bring trout to your net every month of the year. According to many experienced fly fishing lovers, the Crystal Midge has flash and a bubble to attract the attention of trout. Additionally, Its design gives it the appearance of either a mosquito larva or a chironomid larva.

The Crystal Midge also comes with some sparkle because of its pattern, which combines perfectly with a translucent peacock look. You can catch several trout using this pattern either as a single fly or as a dropper fly. If you’re dealing with picky trout feeding on tiny insects, use this pattern. Plus, it works perfectly in rivers, streams, and spring creeks.

Zebra Midge in Red - Drifthook Fly Fishing Flies Kits

Zebra Midge

The Zebra Midge rules the kingdom of the midges, as the lion does in the jungle. Well, the only difference here is that the Zebra gets eaten in both worlds, but that’s not the point. The point is, the Zebra Midge pattern will send you home from your fishing expedition feeling like a pro. So, if you’re planning to go fishing anywhere, don’t forget to grab at least a dozen of these little guys in your fly box.

Aside from red, this pattern is also available in black and olive colors. It also comes in different sizes to choose from - 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, and 24. And if you want the best experience, don’t be frugal with how many you choose to use - the more you have, the better. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with buying a separate fly box for Zebra Midge Black patterns alone. You won’t regret it.

Each midge typically comes in a high carbon steel hook chemically sharpened. It is tied with premium quality materials like Whiting Hackles.  The Zebra Midge is also one of the most popular patterns, as the look-alike fly offers one of the best outlines of a midge larva.


The Brassy bead head is one of the most popular midge patterns for coldwater fishing. It offers a tremendous all-around nymph pattern and comes with three extra features - the segmented body, the bead head, and the curved emerger hook.

The segmented body is mostly the same thing you find on other midges. The bead head is weighty enough to get this little ‘bad boy’ down the water pretty quickly to do its business. The curved emerger hook makes it possible to resemble many midges and pupae better. If you have ever tried the Copper John, you’ll find the Brassy to be its ultimate predecessor.

Another thing that makes the Brassy a trendy choice is that it is straightforward to tie, and that also makes it an ideal option for rookies still learning the rudiments of putting on a midge. It also makes it easy to do some deep fishing, as the bead head sinks like a stone.

An original Brassy comes with a body made up of high-quality copper wire. As we have already mentioned, it also features a bead head made of wrapped tubing. This simple looking pattern makes it a very effective option on trout. However, you'll find that the wrapped tubing has been replaced with a peacock herl over the years. The hook has also made way for the now popular curved emerger hook design, which combines very well with this pattern.

Additionally, you will also find this pattern with wires that come in different colors to choose from, mostly red and green. You may also find two different colors on a single fly in some cases.

Disco Midge - Best Fly Fishing Flies Kits

Disco Midge

Moving on, we have the Disco Midge. If you’re looking for a more productive winter fly, look no further than the Disco Midge. This little guy is sure to make countless fish fall victim to its professional acting skills and innocuous imitation.

The Disco Midge essentially takes the form of a pupa or midge larva - but you probably know that by now. And because large trout usually pay close attention to these tiny-looking insect imitators, this midge pattern does an excellent job, especially in winter waters. The Disco Midge features a hook, usually Tiemco, and comes with a thread, mostly UTC 70 black. Its body usually works well with a red or any other flashy flashabou and a peacock herl thorax.

The Disco Midge is very easy to make at home. And although many people have managed to create different variations to this pattern, the materials you will need for this midge remains the same. Here are the basic things you will need; a hook, a uni-thread, a peacock herl thorax, an underbody olive thread, a pearl flashabou body, a rib made of fine silver wire.

If you’re a first-timer, you can follow some simple instructions to make your own Disco Midge from the material we already mentioned. Otherwise, you can visit your local midge shop.

Flashlight Midge - Drifthook Fly Fishing Flies Kits

Flash Light Midge

Up next, we have the Flash Light Midge, which offers premium flies tied to their proper proportions. If you prefer to fish at night, then you should find this midge to be a perfect option.

Just as its name suggests, the Flash Light Midge acts like a little midge illuminating to provide some form of visibility. You can probably guess that tiny midges are less visible to the fishes at night, and that is why this type of midge pattern plays such an essential role in the world of fishing.

This midge uses some of the best materials and hooks and has faithfully served the fishing world for over 40 years. So, if you opt for the Flash Light Midge, you know you have years of positive results behind you.

This midge is available in two main sizes - 14 and 16 and comes in different colors to choose from.

It is crucial to spend your first couple of minutes observing the water to get the best result from the Flash Light Midge. Big trout often have the habit of roaming close to the water banks at night, searching for their prey. So, instead of casting right through your deep honey hole, try going down the banks, as the fishes will be hunting those areas under cover of darkness.

Rainbow Warrior

Rainbow Warrior

If you’re a newbie, one thing every experienced angler will tell you is that you need to build a midge pattern collection. In doing so, take the time to consider different colors and variations that are often used in the most popular patterns.

The Rainbow Warrior is, by a distance, one of the most colorful patterns out there - hence its name. Plus, it is also one of the most popular patterns to use, as it offers very high success rates. Aside from being very successful with trouts, anyone can quickly master the Rainbow Warrior with a little bit of practice.

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It combines a tungsten bead with a little touch of flash added to it to ensure that you’re always successful in your fishing adventures. However, if you want to recreate your own pattern from scratch, then you may need to add some more variations in terms of the kind of thread you use. But again, you should be able to manage this with a bit of practice.

The Rainbow Warrior offers a genuinely unique midge pattern. And many experienced fishers find it not only a popular option but also an essential one to have in your fly box. And when it comes to the perfect colors to use, you can mix up different colors based on the color of the water body you plan to fish on. If the water body isn’t evident, you may want to try bolder and brighter colors. In the same way, make sure you include as many colors as that may be necessary to break through any murky water body.

Juju Bee Midge - Drifthook Fly Fishing - Best Fly Fishing Flies

Juju Bee Midge

The Juju Bee Midge is credited to Charlie Craven, who is a river guide of South Platte. Its design is supposed to help it imitate the pupa phase of an emerging midge. The Juju Bee Midge comes with hair used to create the segmented nature of the pupa’s abdomen.

The most preferred time to use this midge, especially if you’re fishing on tailwaters, is during the start of the day. That is because pupae and midge larvae are so widespread in tailwaters. And if you want to take your fishing game to the next level, then the Juju Bee Midge is a more than worthy addition to any collection in your fly box. 

You can compare this midge pattern to a candy cane for trout. Its design is supposed to make it look sweet in appearance and deadly effective when tempting out even the most reluctant trout. It features contrasting colors that run down to its abdomen, tiny wing buds, and a small amount of flash along its back. And these features easily represent its model for success. For many experts, this puts the Juju Bee Midge on the list of the essential midge patterns.

Among its many advantages, this midge pattern holds up pretty well even under very heavy use. It is an incredibly diverse midge that works very well as an emerger, a pupa, or a larva. And if you’re serious about your fishing expeditions, you should have it in your fly box. Plus, whether you opt for the olive, black, or bleeder colors, you are guaranteed to have the same impressive results.

Rojo Midge - Drifthook Fly Fishing Best Fly Fishing Flies

Rojo Midge

And our last but not least entry is the Rojo Midge. This is a Western midge fly pattern created by Greg Garcia. The little but effective nymph makes use of a gold ribbing and a gill tuft of peacock herl, all combined perfectly with a bright glass bead. If you are looking for an effective killer dropper, then you should consider adding this to your fly box before you dash off for your next fishing adventure. 

If you’re looking to make your own Rojo Midge, this fly recipe is pretty simple. Use a Tiemco hook (Tiemco 200 R). Next, you need to have your bead, ideally, the Killer Gadis Glass Bead Ruby with a silver lining. For your thread, you will find that the UTC 70 works very well. Next, you will need your gill, preferably Oral B Ultra Floss or the Uni-Stretch White. For your perfect thorax, get the Pearl herl dyed in bright green. And to complete your recipe, you need a rib, preferably made from extra-small but high-quality copper wire.

If all that is too much work for you, pass by your local fishing store and make an order. There are different sizes available to choose from - from sizes 14 to 22. You should find different colors available, including black, olive, purple, and red (which is what Rojo stands for in Spanish - just in case you were wondering).

By having a good selection of midges in your assortment, you will be able to successfully catch trout year around.  

Matthew Bernhardt - Founder Drifthook Fly Fishing

Matthew Bernhardt, a third-generation Coloradan, grew up at the forefront of the state’s fly-fishing revolution, enjoying time on the water, side by side with experienced guides and lifelong anglers.

By combining his passion for fly-fishing with input from other experienced fly-fishers and guides and his fine arts degree from Colorado State University, Matthew spent five years carefully developing the Drifthook Fly Fishing System, built to help every angler catch more trout.

When he’s not spending time with his wonderful family, you’ll find him out on the water catching MONSTER trout, and he anxiously looks forward to the day when his kids are old enough to join him there.

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