A filtered Rayleigh scattering system is developed and applied to measure the mole fraction of methane in a methane-air swirl flow through a transparent conical quartz quarl. Light scattering from the location where the laser beam is incident on the surface of the quarl is orders of magnitudes larger than Rayleigh scattering from the gas mixture of interest. This diffusive scattering is suppressed using molecular absorption by an iodine cell and using spatial filtering by an optical aperture. Residual stray light accounted for up to 5% of the total signal and had to be removed for accurate measurements. The flow consisted of a nonpremixed mixture of methane and air in the central jet surrounded by a strong swirling air flow. Measurements were conducted at a height of 4 mm from the fuel tube’s exit for six different conditions of the swirl flow to demonstrate the ability of the instrument to study the effects of swirl strength and fuel flow rate on the mixing process. By using a four-leg pulse stretcher to allow higher laser energies in the probe volume, large collection optics and a reference iodine cell to monitor laser wavelength variations, standard deviations of ∼0.006 in air and ∼0.012 in a laminar methane flow were achieved for mole fraction measurements.