When we reach February we are at the latter end of winter. Just like January, February can be very challenging. Rainbow trout can still be very lethargic at this time of year.

We would recommend implementing the same tactics used in January. If you’ve not had a chance to check out our article covering January’s tactics, you can check it out here.

best trout flies February

Even though we highly recommend implementing January’s tactics, we have a couple of other options worth considering during the month of February if all else fails.

Static Approach

February will see the tail end of winter. With water temperatures still low, rainbow trout may still be looking for an easy meal. In these instances, we might have to put that fly right in front of their noses.

buzzer bung diagram

Presenting your flies statically at the perfect depth could be the key to success on that given day.

Opt for the bung or sight indicator! An indicator allows you to present your flies at the desired depth in an almost static presentation. The sight indicator not only keeps your flies at a fixed depth but it also acts as a bite indicator.

Bung Retrieves

We don’t want to move the bung at all after the cast, allow it to work naturally over the surface of the water. You can leave the bung in an area as long as you want, 2 – 5 minutes is a good average.

As we previously stated in our January article, fan cast the swim so you cover the area efficiently.

Top Tip: Once you have worked the area with the bung, try a slow figure of 8 retrieve all the way back to the bank to cover the water between you and the bung. You can also try and provoke a take, by either imparting a long pull on the fly line to sink the bunk temporarily or even a short snap pull. More often than not, trout can be sitting eyeing up your fly and this sudden movement can provoke a take.

Leader Material

A fluorocarbon leader of 6 – 8lb is perfect for implementing into your bung method. Keep your leader length between 10 to 12ft. You want to have your bung set 2 – 3 feet away from your braided loop, this will not only help turnover the flies more easily, but it will also help aid bite detection as the bung is located closer to the flies.

Recommended Flies

Since there is very little feeding in the water at this time of the year, a mild February might see some small hatches occur. These small hatches are predominantly small and black. Opt for a two buzzer setup. Small subtle black buzzers in a size 12 or 14 are recommended.

Top tip: Opt for curved hooked buzzers when using the bung fishing method. The curved hook helps increase hook up ratio.

Washing Line Method

The washing line is another technique worth implementing, it allows you to fish your flies slowly while offering an attractive point fly and two subtle buzzers/nymphs above it.

washing line diagram

The washing line method allows you to cover an array of depths with varying fly patterns.

We recommend using a 3ft or 6ft midge tip/sink tip fly line with the following setup. This will allow you to target the first few feet of the water column.

Leader Material

We recommend fishing with a 12 – 14ft 7-8lb breaking strain fluorocarbon leader material. This is because takes can be aggressive when fishing with buzzers.

Fluorocarbon is a much denser leader material than the likes of a copolymer or monofilament leader and is likely to sink a lot quicker. This can be beneficial when a deeper water presentation is required.

Recommended Flies

Stick with a highly visible point fly like a FAB. This is the perfect attractor fly. Fish two subtle buzzers above this. Like we mentioned earlier, if there are any hatches in February, they will be small and black in nature.

Dry Fly

Yes, you’ve read that right! Sometimes, we need to think outside the box and in some cases. Mild winters can see trout porpoising. In these scenarios, we want to cover these fish and try to encourage them to take a fly, even if the method is quite unorthodox for the time of year.

dry fly diagram

Dry Fly Retrieves

Like any dry fly presentation, a small figure of 8 retrieve is required to ensure you stay in touch with your flies.

Leader Material

Opt for a lighter breaking strain of leader since you will be using smaller dry flies. This will help aid overall presentation. A 5lb or 6lb fluorocarbon leader is ideal. The lighter breaking strain will assist in fly presentation.

Recommended Flies

In terms of fly choice, we recommend a couple of CDC variants. These keep align the small buzzer imitations and the CDC is the perfect representation of a small emerging buzzer ready to break through the water film.


February’s tactics are very similar to January’s. However, this article will hopefully allow you to think outside the box during those challenging winter sessions. If you find that larger profile flies are not producing, you can always opt for a more finesse approach and scale down your fly selection, whilst introducing a more imitative approach.