We report on the development of a high power monolithic CW fiber oscillator with an output power of 215 W in a 20μm core diameter few-mode Large Mode Area fiber (LMA). The key parameters for stable operation are reviewed. With these optimizations the root mean square of the output power fluctuations can be reduced to less than 0.5 % on a timescale of 20 s, which represents an improvement of more than a factor 5 over a non-optimized fiber laser. With a real-time measurement of the mode content of the fiber laser it can be shown that the few-mode nature of LMA fibers is the main factor for the residual instability of our optimized fiber laser. The root of the problem is that Fiber Bragg Gratings (FBGs) written in multimode fibers exhibit a multi-peak reflexion spectrum in which each resonance corresponds to a different transversal mode. This reflectivity spectrum stimulates multimode laser operation, which results in power and pointing instabilities due to gain competition between the different transversal modes . To stabilize the temporal and spatial behavior of the laser output, we propose an innovative passive in-fiber transversal mode filter based on modified FBG-Fabry Perot structure. This structure provides different reflectivities to the different transversal modes according to the transversal distribution of their intensity profile. Furthermore, this structure can be completely written into the active fiber using fs-laser pulses. Moreover, this concept scales very well with the fiber core diameter, which implies that there is no performance loss in fibers with even larger cores. In consequence this structure is inherently power scalable and can, therefore, be used in kW-level fiber laser systems.© (2010) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.