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Alaska Fishing: Arctic Grayling

For most sport fishers in America, the Arctic grayling (Thymallus arcticus (Pallus)) is a rare freshwater game fish symbolic of the clear, cold streams of the northern wilderness of Alaska. Grayling occur throughout the arctic as far west as the Kara and Ob rivers in Russia and east to the western shores of Hudson Bay in Canada.

Alaska Arctic GraylingOnce as common as far south as Michigan and Montana, the Arctic grayling has almost disappeared from the northern United States because of overfishing, competition from introduced species, and habitat loss. The Arctic grayling is an elegantly formed cousin of the trout. With its sail-like dorsal fin dotted with large iridescent red or purple spots, the grayling is one of the most unusual and beautiful fish of Alaska. Grayling are generally dark on the back and have iridescent gray sides. They have varying numbers of black spots scattered along the anterior portion of both sides. The adipose, caudal (tail), pectoral, and anal fins are dusky brown and the pelvic fins are often marked with pink to orange stripes.

The Grayling in Alaska are abundant in places. Their high population can give them a bad reputation from some “jaded” anglers. What’s interesting is if you compared a wild rainbow trout and an arctic grayling, on why they are cherished by the fly angler. There would be very little difference at all! Well maybe the fight, but that’s it. They both love to eat dry flies, nymphs, streamers, and even love to attack mouse patterns. You can spend hours learning your craft as a fisherman, catching one after another while fishing on a weather delay or after dinner. The local waters of the RCL rival any grayling fishery in the world.

Grab our 3 weight lodge rod and put on a dry fly and get ready, you will catch a lot of fish!

The Grayling in the fall time can weigh well over 3 pounds and can be caught in the 18-22 inch range. If we guaranteed anything at the RCL… it’s that “we can put you on some grayling!”

Grayling dry fly fishing