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How to Tie a Frostbite Midge Variation

How to Tie a Frostbite Midge Variation

September 4, 2023

Jacob Gilliland

TCO Fly Shop Retail Sales Associate

Relentless Fly Fishing Guide

A Step-by-Step Guide


Midges are one of the most important food sources for trout. They make up about 25 percent of a trout’s diet and are available year-round making it a popular winter pattern. The pattern we will be covering today is the frostbite midge. The frostbite midge was invented by Brian Chan. I will be doing a variation of his midge using Veevus body quill instead of frostbite. I’m sure there are other variations out there but this is the one that has been working the best for me. I will usually fish this fly under a dry fly in a dry-dropper rig. Because this imitates a midge pupa, fishing it higher in the water column during a midge hatch is an excellent idea. I’ve caught numerous fish on this pattern over the years and this pattern never leaves my fly box. Add it to yours today!


Hook: Size 18 Fulling Mill Grub Boss or Tiemco Hook - TMC 2499SP-BL

Bead: Hareline Plummeting Tungsten bead 2.3mm copper or bead of your choice

Thread: 16/0 Brown Veevus or thread of your choice 

Gills: White Antron

Body: Claret Veevus Body Quill 

Rib: Small silver ultra wire or X-small silver uni soft wire

Thorax: Peacock herl

How to Tie a Frostbite Midge Variation

How to Tie a Frostbite Midge Variation

Step 1:

Secure bead to the hook.

Step 2:

Secure the thread. Push the bead back towards the bend of the hook and secure some 16/0 Veevus thread in brown to the hook shank right behind the hook eye.

Step 3:

Tie in the gills. Grab some white Antron yarn and place it against the hook shank at a downward angle facing you and take a pinch wrap to secure the yarn in place. Draw the yarn back toward hook bend until the yarn sticks out over the hook eye about one hook eye in length. Once satisfied with the length of the gills, take three or four tight securing wraps to secure the yarn in place. Trim the excess yarn behind the bead off flush and whip finish the thread. Jam the bead right behind the hook eye as shown below. 

Step 4:

Tie in the body. Secure some Veevus body quill in claret to the hook shank.

Step 5:

Tie in the rib. Secure some small silver wire to the hook right behind the eye.


Step 6:

Form the body. Wrap the body quill in touching turns back towards the hook bend. Go deep down into the bend and then go back up the hook shank until you’ve reached the bead. There should be no silver wire showing. Whip finish the body quill and resecure the Veevus 16/0 brown thread behind the bead.

Step 7:

Rib the body. Take the silver wire and rib the body using open spiral wraps up the body. Secure the wire and then helicopter the excess free.

Step 8:

Select a single peacock herl and tie it in behind the bead. Take several wraps with the herl to produce a bulbous thorax. Tie off the herl with a few securing wraps.

Step 9:

Add a dab of super glue to the thread. Here I'm using Loctite Brush On. 

Step 10:

Whip finish the fly.



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Ben - October 2, 2023

Thanks for sharing! Fun little midge to tie as I prepare for fall/winter fishing. Just made a bunch of these from this recipe.

Frank Bigley - October 2, 2023

I think it wold be helpful if there was a package you could order with enough of each component to tie 20 or so of flys that are in the blog. I started to buy materials this way and sent them aside with the directions for the fly. By the time I’ve done 20 – 25 of them, I usually can get the pattern down and produce enough “fishable” flys to make it worth while.

Frank Bigley - October 2, 2023

Great job. I think I can tie this (at least one out of 100 will be usable. HaHa


Bruce Duke - October 2, 2023

Is Claret quill especially effective or simply your random choice of color?

harryt - October 2, 2023

Nice Jake I am tying a bunch of these my friend

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Jacob Gilliland

Jacob Gilliland

TCO Boiling Springs Retail Sales Associate and Relentless Fly Fishing Guide

Email Jacob Gilliland at with any questions or comments.

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