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Grayling Fishing

Grayling in waterGrayling are found in cool, crystal clear and highly oxygenated rivers. They also thrive in lakes as long as its water temperature remains quite low even during summers.  There are several species of grayling and the Arctic grayling is the one found in North America. Historically, there are Arctic grayling found in Montana and Michigan but the grayling in Michigan are now extinct.

In the winter, grayling tend to move to deeper pools as there is more food in slow moving water. They forage for food in weed beds, under rocks and stones in the bottom of the lake.  They often gather as one large shoal and it is not uncommon to see hundreds of grayling in one part of the lake or river. Grayling are also noted to come up for hatching insects even in winter. Classified as a game fish it is equal to the trout.

In spring they migrate upstream to spawn. After spawning, grayling move back to fast flowing water for food. In the summer, grayling are found in the rapids seeking food under the stones and rocks. They also move expertly in finding insects and fly that hatch in the water’s surface. Grayling often break the surface with their tails while they work stones and rocks with their snouts.

On average, a grayling weighs about a pound. A 2-3 pounder grayling is already a trophy. The world record is about 6 pounds.

fishing1Fishing Tips for Grayling

Grayling will eat anything and they are likely to take on spoons, small spinners, dry flies and bait. However, they do inspect bait that more often than not grayling are quite wary and cautious.  Sometimes grayling prefer only one food in particular so different flies and tackles should be tried to see which one works best.

Casting is the best way to catch a grayling. Cast downstream or across the water while letting the fly float downstream. A wary grayling will soon bite so keeping the line taut so as not to lose the fish.  Once hooked a grayling will repeatedly break water and dive to shake off the hook. Its large dorsal fin make it all the more difficult to catch and reel it in.

The best time to fish for grayling is in the months of September to October. However grayling are also “catchable” the whole year as they are active feeders even during the winter months. Grayling are found in deeper pools come the cold months.  In the summer, grayling usually feed at dusk and even on warm nights.

fishing1Fishing Gear and Tackle for Grayling

Most anglers prefer to use light and flexible spinning gear and fly rods in grayling fishing. Casting and retrieving seem to be the most effective way to catch a shy yet smart fish. The fact that grayling prefer clear water to murky water is a prime consideration when fishing for grayling.

Since grayling are not picky eaters, they are attracted to dry flies, small spinners, streamers and bait.  However, since grayling at times prefer one type of food, it is best to change flies and tackles to see which one they will bite. A floater a placed a few inches up a nymph  is also recommended so an angler can see the quick uptake bite of a grayling.

fishing1Where to Find Grayling

Arctic grayling used to be plenty in the lakes and rivers of Michigan and Montana. To date, the Michigan population of grayling is now extinct. The river-dwelling grayling in Missouri River near Great Falls, Montana have significantly decreased in population too. The only viable location in Montana for grayling is in Big Hole River near Divide.

For grayling enthusiasts, Alaska offers great grayling fishing. Almost all of Alaska’s clear freshwater streams and rivers have grayling. The most popular fishing spots are: Chena, Delta Clearwater, Chatanika, and Salcha Rivers. Large grayling are found in Fish, Niukluk and Sinuk Rivers.  Arctic grayling is abundant in Alaska. An avid angler can even stop by a stream near a roadside and fish for grayling.