Updated
2013-04-16

Swedish version

 

Grayling, the perfect fish for fly fishing
By Sune Adolfsson

  On the third cast the big grayling rose and took the dry fly. Then the fish took off down stream in full speed. I had seen the cautious wake rings on the blank area at the stream head - and like so many times in the past underestimated them in the belief that they were from smaller graylings.

  First run pulled out all the fly line - and I was just as surprised as the fish on the other end. After a walk of about 50 meters downstream, I managed to pull the grayling to the river bank - and a few minutes later slipped into the net. A splendid grayling maybe just over a kilo. It was a delight for me to look at, where it lay among the beach rocks and sparkled in the sunshine. Large grayling was successfully landed.

  This small fishing episode can be seen as fairly typical when one makes contact with large grayling. One of the many charms of the grayling fishing is the difficulty in determining the size of the fish by looking at the wake ring. Gently and barely noticeable the rings spreading out like an autumn leaf falling on the water surface. If you are grayling fishing you should not underestimate any wake.

  Ideal fish for flyfishing

  The grayling were once as an inferior alternative to the more honorable trout. Largely because they saw the trout as more of a strong fighter, also somewhat more difficult to cheat compared to grayling.

  But the trend has in recent years turned, and today it's probably not many people that underestimate grayling fishing. Sure, smaller grayling become a little tiresome in the long run - but the same can be said for smaller trout.

  A meeting with a 1 kg grayling you will remember for ever. The saying that adult grayling would be more “gullible” fish than adult trout should probably be regarded as a myth. On the contrary, grayling can be extremely picky and not take a fly that drags even the slightest.

  The major difference between the two fish - except that the trout will be considerably larger than the grayling - is that the grayling is the ideal flyfishing fish. Trout will early change to the fish diet to manage its rapid growth. .Grayling contrast from that by being on insect diet for life and is thus for fly fishermen the perfect target

  When can you call a grayling for big grayling? This can obviously be a personal judgment. I myself remember how it felt when I managed to hook my first grayling around half a kilo. After the first moments of heart throbbing had quiet down somewhat, I thought it was the most impressive and largest grayling ever been viewed as on this side of the globe.

  Grayling maximum weight is around 2.5 kg. A grayling on 8 hg and up will probably be considered a big fish - that is, in my opinion, a big grayling.

  The three R's

  To get in contact with big grayling it is important that the "three R's" rule is met. The right water, the right time, and last but not least, the right fly.

  The Right waters are still numerous in our latitudes and conditions for having contact with large grayling, may even today be considered good. The larger rivers, from Klarälven in the south to the far north in Sweden, and several rivers in Norway, have good populations of full grown grayling.

  The Right time may include the weeks around midsummer, when the mayflies are active in most grayling water. With the exception of some rivers in the northern latitudes where hatchings of mayflies can be extremely sparse. Autumn is also a very fine time for grayling. Caddis are very active and can sometimes offer a superb fishing. September is the classic grayling months, and is seen by many fly fishermen as by far the best grayling time.

  The Right fly can at times be quite tricky to figure out when you're on grayling fishing. The grayling is a moody fish and can suddenly refuse to take on the same fly that it minutes before was totally obsessed on. But most of the times you can get it to rise to a high floating dry fly in the right size. The grayling is otherwise a grateful fish and will gladly help them to the served dinner table on the water surface. Which means dry flies tend to be useful most of the season? Even smaller nymphs should be included in the fly box - and presented just below the surface, they can be extremely effective. More about the flies later.

  The weather gods are notoriously another factor that can cause problems when you are on a fishing trip. Grayling is a sun liking fish. In rainy and gray weather, it can sometimes be hard to get in touch with. A heavy weighted nymph on a long thin leader can at these times be the only solution.

Badger Variant och No-hackle. Av Sune Adolsson © 1984
Badger Variant and No-hackle fly

  Light rods - long backing

  To fish for grayling with stiff, heavy rods are not successful. Light rods in classes 4-6 is better suited and also gives a much greater chance of keeping fish.

  When fishing at Kaitum River for a number of years ago, I got myself to learn the lesson that stiff rods and grayling fishing do not mix. I fished with a rod #7-8 and 8.5 feet long. In other words, a real "canon" is far from being a grayling rod. After a few valiant attempts, I managed to hook a giant grayling on a small Black Gnat No. 16. After a crazy run and about 15 minutes of play I had the fish in reach for netting. Suddenly the fish started to run again, and the fly got loose and went to the air in a wide curve. The hook was completely straightened - and the adventure was over. How much it weighed? Enough to make long lasting marks in the few "fish nerves" I had left.

  The error was that the rod was too stiff relative to the hook size. The rod gave to strong resistance when the fish started his sudden run again. The grayling is also quite soft in the mouth and also this is an argument for softer lighter rods.

  Nowadays I use a carbon fiber rod in #4-5, but makes up for it with a long backing of at least 50-60 meters. This rod set the hooks excellent and makes a soft resistance when the fish surprisingly makes a rush. Now I get to keep my big graylings.

 
Two caddi flies that grayling happily consumes
Streaking Caddis and Europea-12

  High Floating flies

  In the case of dry flies position on water surface - and it will apply to both hackled and non hackled, I have been able to establish that they should stand high on the water. In other words, the fly should be on its toes!

  Quality if hackle should be of the highest class and fly then dipped in a floating liquid. As an extra impregnation, I also just prior to the fishing further treat it sparingly with some leader grease on the hackle and tail fibres. I can warmly recommend natural product Ragot (also called wild boar fat) which is excellent for this purpose. But avoid getting it on the fly line - Ragot contain substances which could have a deleterious effect on today's synthetic lines! It may seem a little excessive to also grease the fly, but the result is excellent. You get a very high floating fly, and it floats for long. Although it becomes wet from the fish, it becomes dry and high floating again after a few air throws.

  Combining good hackle, good impregnation can sometimes be the only medicine to come into contact with watchful big grayling.


Black Nymph and Hare Ear Nymph still works good for catching grayling

  Short reach

  Long casts are rarely necessary when on grayling fishing.

  Around midsummer last summer, I stood and cast with my fly rod along with some other fly fishers, at one of the bigger rivers in mid Norway. The fish was feeding from surface; the menu consisted of abundant hatchings of mayflies and caddis. Thus an ideal relationship for fly fishing.

  Most fishermen focused entirely on getting as far out as possible. They used so much force as it made creaking noises in their arms - and the result was only a big number of lost flies in behind located river embankment.

  I had observed a number of wakes only a few meters from the shore. Rather than join with the long distance casters, I decided to try some casts on these close by grayling. It was not long before the first take. My caddi imitation sat firmly in the mouth of a grayling and there were no major difficulties to maneuvering the caught grayling to the shore. A fine grayling just over a kilo – caught just by casting 6 meters!

By Sune Adolfsson 1984

 

Article translated from Swedish by using Google Translate service
We apologize if the grammar is not perfect

 

 

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