How to Fish for Arctic Grayling

How to Fish for Arctic Grayling

Hello. My name is April Behr. I’m a fisheries biologist
with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. And we are here today to
fish for arctic grayling. We are on the banks of
the upper Chena River, just outside of Fairbanks. And this is a great location
to come fish for grayling, but you can also find them
in most rivers and lakes throughout Alaska. So when you’re fishing
for arctic grayling, you want to make sure you
have your current Alaska sport fishing license on
you at all times. You also want to check the
current regulation booklet to make sure you know what the
regulations are for the water body you will be fishing. So let’s take a look
at some of the gear and tackle you might need. Grayling can readily be
caught on both fly fishing gear or spinning gear. So let’s talk about
spinning gear first. All you need really is a light
action spinning rod with four to six pound test monofilament. Grayling bite on a
wide variety of tackle. I recommend using
spinners, spoons, or jigs. Here’s a nice example
of a small spinner. This is a treble hook. Today we’re on to Chena River. And the Chena River is catch
and release only, and requires us to use a single hook. So we would have to actually
cut off two of these hooks. Or we could just replace
it with a single hook. Here’s a nice example
of a small spoon. This might mimic a salmon fry. And here is a castmaster. All would be good choices. Today we’re going
to try using a jig. When you pick out
your colors, make sure you have white and black. These colors always
seem to work really well with grayling in Alaska. Also try to have so earth
tones and some bright colors because they really will
bite on different colors depending on the day. Let’s start out today using a
spinning rod with a lead head jig. You just thread the body of
the jig onto the lead head. These come in different sizes. You want to keep them small. And if you’re fishing
in faster water and you need a little
bit of extra weight, just add a split shot or two. I’m also going to
crimp the barb. It just makes releasing
the fish a lot easier and you won’t do as much damage. So here we have a nice riffle. It flows down into a deep
pool with some woody debris at the end of it. And this is exactly what
we’re looking for when we’re choosing a fishing location. So let’s see if we
can catch a fish. We’re going to cast
upstream a little bit. Let our jig float down. And give it a little bit of
action by jerking on the line. Just a little bit. Might have had a nibble there. So grayling tend to hold
in one spot in the current and wait for invertebrate
drift to come down to them. They like to hang
out at the bottom of these riffles in pools. So when you’re fishing
and you haven’t had a bite in a
couple of casts, it’s helpful just to
take a couple steps downstream, upstream,
move around a little bit. You want to try to
cover some area. So let’s try a couple
casts over here. We have a lot of
nice woody debris. Grayling sometimes like
to hide behind wood or downed trees in the water. And then they’ll dart
out to get a prey item. You don’t want to
reel really fast. You want that jig to get
down near the bottom. Oh, I think we have a fish. Nice one. So when you are
landing your fish, I like to keep them in the
water as much as possible. Look at this beautiful fish. Nice big dorsal fin. Sometimes you can just remove
the hook with your fingers. Let’s see if that works. There it goes. And we want to hold
them in the water. To revive your fish, you
want to point them upstream. Or if there’s no current,
you want to wave water gently into their mouth. And he was ready to go. So let’s try again
for another one. Arctic grayling are a really
great fish to fly fish for. You just need really
light weight fly rod. You can use a four
to a six weight. Here are some examples of
grayling flies that work well. I personally like to
use the elk hair caddis, a bead head nymph in the
spring, a mosquito pattern. I like the duns. But any of these would
really work great. The key to grayling
fishing is to move around. So let’s move downstream. In the summertime
grayling really spread out throughout
an entire river really. So you can catch them in
a lot of different places. But some good places
to try include rocks other structures in the
water, along the seams between fast and slow
current, and in deep pools. It’s a nice hot day today
so I’m just wearing sandals. But remember, if you’re wearing
waders, you can no longer use felt soles for
your wading shoes. You need to have rubber soles. Oh, got one. I’m going to walk
down to calmer water. Now, because this is
a catch and release, we want to keep them in the
water as much as possible. We cut this guy on
a bead head nymph. You can see the nice dorsal fin. Beautiful stripes. And the pelvic fins. It’s handy to have a pair of
pliers or hemostats on you. You need to revive your fish. You can point him upstream. So the water will
pass through his mouth and through his gills. Beautiful grayling. We’ve caught a few
fish out of this pool. So it’s time for us
to move downstream. Try another spot. I hope you found this useful. Grab a friend and give it a try. Good luck fishing.

14 thoughts on “How to Fish for Arctic Grayling

  1. Enjoyed your video.  Coming up in July to grayling fish on the Denali highway.  Will be my first trip to Alaska.

  2. Very good video, lovely location and scenery and great shots of the Grayling under the water!! And just to add, what a sweetheart April is!! And an accomplished angler too!!

  3. great video showing the techniques and catching some fish. The underwater video/take is amazing, I always want to see how it happens. Thank you! Hope to see you on the water one day

  4. Idiot. Squeezing the fish and holding it tightly saying you need to revive it as it’s wildly trying to escape.

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