February means the light at the end of the tunnel is becoming brighter by the day. The shortest month of the year still brings frigid winter conditions, but we begin to see the warm sunny days reaching highs into the 50’s and 60’s. This is what gets me excited about February. A string of 3-4 warm days in a row will clear some ice off our classic freestones. This gives you plenty of options beyond the tailwater game that is the most productive throughout the majority of winter! Here is my take on 5 Flies to Get You Through the Month of February.
Hotwire Prince or Montana Prince: Above I mentioned freestones coming back into play this month. The Montana or Hotwire Prince are my go to stonefly patterns. If you were to look at my rig this time of the year on the Ark or Colorado, you will find one of these flies 100% of the time. Need I say more?
Juju Baetis: Red and Purple are my favorite colored Juju’s. It’s a confidence fly for me on just about any water in Colorado. (Tailwater or not) In December and January I shy away from flashy quite a bit. That isn’t the case in February. As fish begin to elevate in feeding columns with the warmer weather, I like the idea of having something flashy to grab their attention. The Juju Baetis in a size 18-22 has that flash!
Shot Glass Baetis: One of my buddy Shea Gunkel’s patterns, that is growing in popularity! My favorite color is purple, but they all work. This fly consistently produces from the big waters in Wyoming to the most technical tailwaters in Colorado. I have rows in my fly box dedicated to this pattern and I make sure those rows are always full! Another thing, did I mention Shea will be here hosting an Umpqua Tying Class this month? I wouldn’t miss out on that if I were you.
Johnny Flash: Starting to see a theme here? Flashy pretty much takes over my rigs from February until next winter! The Johnny Flash is a great emerger pattern and I’m a huge fan of them in Grey or Chocolate!
Skinny Nelson: Quite possibly the most underrated fly around. I’ll finish my list with this fly. I just started fishing it recently and it’s production has led to me tying dozens upon dozens of them in the last two weeks. I did so assuming it will continue to produce throughout February and probably the remainder of the year!