9 Essential Tips for Catching Grayling With a Fly Rod


Fly fishing for Grayling can be a little more difficult than fishing for other kinds of fish. To help you, I found 9 essential tips and want to share them below.

So, what are the 9 essential tips for catching grayling with a fly rod? The number one tip for fly fishing for grayling is to be patient and not be afraid to try something “odd” or new. No fish is the same, and fishing for a new species might be a little out of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid and take risks!

If you have never fished for a grayling it can be quite difficult. Even those with experience still find trouble in hooking their desired catch. Now if you’re ready to find out more and to find that special tip you have been looking for to help you reel in that elusive fish, READ ON!

1. Choose the Colorful Fly

While the main food source of grayling is naturally colored and tends to be camouflaged to their environment, a fly with some extra color might just grab their attention.

Some fly fishermen have even noticed that grayling prefer the colorful flies and will single them out, ignoring the camouflage fly.

Grayling tend to favor the colorful flies over the camouflage ones.

If you’re wondering what colors might work best, go for a fly with a hint of red, pink, or even a little purple on it.

2. Use Nymphs More

Since grayling are bottom feeders, a dry fly will not be as effective. Grayling are less inclined to rise to the surface for most flies.

Bringing the fly closer to the grayling gives you a better chance of getting bites from this so-called “lazy” fish.

To increase the number of bites on your line use a wet fly such as a nymph. While a dry fly may be more in your comfort zone, the switch will greatly increase the odds of you catching a grayling.

Choose to put a nymph on the end of your line more often to increase your chances of reeling in a grayling.

3. Looking for Grayling

When looking to catch grayling, you should remember that they are what we call “shoal fish.”

The term “shoal” simply means that grayling travel in groups or “pods.”

Meaning, if you catch one grayling, most likely, there are more grayling waiting close by.

Once you determine whether or not there are grayling in an area be sure to continue casting in that area.

After you believe you have taken a chance with each of the fish hiding below, consider moving on to a new location to try again!

4. Bottom is Best

Grayling are bottom feeders, especially in the winter months. If the water is cold you can expect a grayling not to move far to grab your line.

If you aren’t hitting the bottom every once in a while, you most likely aren’t getting close enough to catch the grayling you are looking for.

Play it dangerous and fish a little deeper. Be aware, you might lose a few flies so maybe don’t use your prized fly to go after a grayling.

If you aren’t hitting the bottom every once in a while, you most likely aren’t getting close enough to catch a grayling.

5. Be Aware, that They are Aware

When fishing for trout one of the most effective techniques is using a dragging fly.

While trout are more inclined to fall for the fly fishing dragging tactic, grayling do not tend to fall for this technique.

Fishing for grayling requires more technique and precision. A grayling is not as easily deceived as other types of fish.

So be aware that the grayling you are trying to catch are aware of the little discrepancies.

You will have to try some new techniques in order to convince these tricky fish to take your fly.

6. Strike Well, and Strike Often

Grayling are often lurking at the bottom of the water and require you to use submerged flies. However, with the use of submerged flies come the mysteries of what is possibly lurking below the surface.

While casting for grayling your most common questions may be “Wait, was it a snag, or a bite?” While the possibility of hooking an underwater obstacle is present, there is also the possibility that a large grayling is taking a chance with your line.

Don’t let a fish get away by mistaking a subtle bite for a bottom snag.

If you don’t strike at each of the subtle stops, you may miss out on reeling in the prize of a grayling.

So if you see the line stop, don’t just automatically assume its a snag, take the chance and strike! You might just real in the perfect grayling. Strike well, and strike often!

7. Patience

When fishing for any species of fish (using any tactic) there is a great need for patience. However, fishing for grayling requires an extra dose of patience.

You could be casting perfectly right into a hot spot of grayling, and still not have any takers on your line. Why? Grayling just aren’t big feeders.

Do not get discouraged when casting if you aren’t catching. Since grayling are not big feeders they take a little more convincing before they decided to snack.

Do not get discouraged.

Remember to be patient and just keep casting. Eventually, you will come across a hungry grayling!

8. Be Strong but Gentle

A big grayling can put up a big fight with you (against contrary belief) and will make you work for the prize at the end of the line.

However, grayling have soft mouths and pulling too much, might just pull the hook right out.

So be strong, but gentle. Use strategy over force. Give it some line if needed and follow the fish if you get the chance.

Use strategy instead of force.

In my other posts on the subject of fly fishing, I always remind readers that you have a greater advantage when you are downstream of the fish. The same applies to grayling!

9. Releasing A Grayling

For many fish, you can catch them, remove the hook, and then gently release them without any problem. However, as we learned above grayling are a little different than most fish.

After removing the hook from the fish’s mouth, you need to give it more time to recover before releasing it back into the water.

Grayling require more time to recover before being released.

If the fish is not completely recovered it will just roll over in the water. In the event the grayling just rolls back over, grab it again and hold it upright in the water until the fish is ready to swim off on its own.

Be sure to give any grayling you catch enough time to recover before you release them back into the water.

Grayling a Brief History

When Louis and Clark went on their famous expedition, they recorded seeing what they called the “white trout.” We know recognize this as the arctic grayling.

Grayling has six different known sub-species that can be found anywhere from Alaska to places in Mongolia The two most common sub-species are the arctic grayling and European grayling.

In 2010, the grayling was proposed as an endangered species and the only remaining native grayling in the continental United States is located in the Big Hole River of Montana.

While grayling are now a steady species, they were once placed on the endangered species list.

Since being listed on the endangered list, the grayling species was introduced into 26 different states and has a steadily growing population.

Related Questions

What do grayling taste like? Grayling are white meat that is flaky and tastes best when it is cooked as soon as possible. Most fishermen plan ahead by bringing a frying pan and supplies to cook their catch right there on the riverbank. Grayling do not take well to being frozen.

What do grayling eat? Grayling eat most anything, but their favorite snack tends to be drifting aquatic life. Their most common meals are black flies, mayflies, stoneflies, and caddis flies. However, grayling are also known to eat Salmon eggs, smaller fish, and other small aquatic life.

Tim Butala

My name is Tim and I have been a fisherman my whole life. My favorite fish to go after is a Stripped Bass.

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