Here in February, late winter, the trout are post-spawn and slowly regaining some color. They may not offer the brightness they do in late summer or early fall, but looking closely you'll find some beautiful patterns. The darkness that has been building through the winter adds new textures, much like snowfall adding another dimension to our visual landscape; contours and shapes are redefined once a layer of snow accumulates.
One of the most effective patterns this winter has been the red weenie. Yup, it's exactly like the greenie weenie, just with red chenille. Simple, bright, effective. What the winter calls for. I've been tying them with copper and gold beadheads, mostly on size 14 hooks. I like to use them as an anchor fly on a tandem nymph rig. I've seen a few fish dart out at the red weenie from a series of fast riffles only to take my dropper, usually some sort of simple pheasant tail or caddis pattern.
Maybe it's a reminder of what's to come in a few months or what used to be: the reds that we yearn to see once the snow melts and the sun stays up past 7 p.m. or those full bodied maple reds of floating fallen leaves, the flotsam of the fall.