The Good Fight – Angling Artic Grayling
To me, one of the truly great adventures when fishing in Canada’s Yukon Territory, is encountering the finest, strongest, arctic grayling on the planet. I find them elegant with their arching dorsal fin, and consider them to be among the most beautiful of all fresh water species. I also love to engage with them - pound for pound, they are one of the north’s most challenging fish. Most of all, they put on a spectacular show. Arctic grayling love to break water, and it’s not unusual for them to fly into the air many times during a fight.
Knowing how much they are inclined to resist, we’ve given our artic grayling approach a lot of thought. After considerable trial and error, at Grizzly Creek Lodge we’ve settled on a short 3 wt. fly rod and a lightweight reel spooled with weight forward floating line, as our first artic grayling choice. if you are fighting a strong current along with the fish, rods in the 5/6 wt. class can be a better option.
We are blessed with such clear waters around our lodge that we, along with our clients, spend most of our time sight fishing. When it comes to choosing dry flies, we keep in mind that arctic grayling are aggressive feeders, meaning that it’s really hard to choose wrong. Among our favorite patterns are elk hair caddis, bloody mosquito, bumble bee, and black gnat. We also find that hook sizes 12 through 16 tend to get the job done. Feeding primarily on insects, they are, in my opinion, a fly-fishers dream.
I’ve found that nymph patterns are a great way to target these fish. In my experience, I often find bigger males suspended under logs, or in deep pools with a strong current. Among my favorites for these conditions are the Hare’s Ear, Zug Bug, and Pheasant Tail.
Given their natural beauty, it’s not surprising that arctic grayling are attracted to anything flashy. I find Mepp’s, Panther Martins, and Blue Fox spinners from #0 – #3 to be the best producers. In my experience, I find using an ultra-light spinning rod with 4 to 6-pound test line the perfect set-up for these fish. For the best result, cast your spinner upstream with the goal of keeping it just off the bottom. Don’t forget to check out low hanging trees or partially submerged logs since these tend to be favored spots for feeding.
I invite you to join me in experiencing world class arctic grayling fishing. Getting there is just a short boat ride from the main Grizzly Lodge with no costly fly-outs required.