Fishing for Arctic grayling is a unique and exciting experience that is sure to be a highlight of any angler's trip. These beautiful fish are known for their striking coloration and the large, sail-like dorsal fin that gives them their name. Arctic grayling can be found in the cold, clear waters of the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions, and are often found in fast-moving streams and rivers. They are a popular sport fish, and are known for their acrobatic jumps and strong fighting power when hooked.
At our lodge, we offer guided Arctic grayling fishing trips that take you to the best spots on the river. Our experienced guides are knowledgeable about the behavior and habits of these fish, and will teach you the best techniques for catching them. Whether you are an experienced angler or a beginner, you are sure to have a great time and catch some beautiful Arctic grayling. We provide all the necessary equipment and baits, so all you need to bring is your fishing license and a sense of adventure.
Arctic Grayling Gallery
Best Tackle for Arctic Grayling
Don’t bring a ton of lures.
Don’t bring musky-sized lures. They will work, but are too heavy for related casting, but the 2½ to 3 inch spoons noted above will do the job better.
All hooks on your fishing line must have all of the barbs pinched down. Best to pinch down the barbs of all the lures you bring prior to leaving home. Manitoba law says that the lure on your rod has to have pinched barbs, but not the ones in your tackle box. This means, you don’t have to pinch all your lures prior to arrival, in case you plan to take them somewhere else that may allow barbs.
Some people have wondered about fishing for Grayling with a small #0 or #1 Mepps spinner, and that will also work for the larger Grayling, but you will miss out on the smaller fish which can make up a great day when the big ones are not around. The one down-side to using the #0 or #1 Mepps spinners is that every small Pike in the water will hit that little spinner, including even some larger Pike and Lake trout. Since we fish for Grayling with no wire leader, and tie straight onto the line, any Pike will cut your lure off, taking a nice $6 lure with him. So… we recommend fishing with flies. The Pike will almost never hit a fly.
The best technique for catching the Grayling with a fly is to suspend a nymph (a weighted, or sinking bug-like fly) under a bobber. If you are a fly fisherman, you don’t use bobbers, of course, and you will call your bobber an “indicator”. Spin-fishermen can cast flies with a clear plastic casting bobber, and then be able to use the same flies as the fly fishermen. In fact, the spin-fishermen will have the advantage of being able to make longer casts than the fly folks, and get their flies into more spots, and probably get more fish too. I suggest you take a look at this YouTube video for an example of using this technique… “How to catch grayling - Fishing for arctic grayling - fly fishing and spinning”. At the 3:00 point he shows how he sets up a spinning rod for Grayling. The video “Fly and a Bubble Fishing Technique” by Utah Wildlife Resources shows more in detail how to set up the bobber and fly. Also, “Catch Fish with a Fly on a Bubble” by New Mexico Game & Fish shows how it can be done.
Flies in size 8 or 10 suggested for stonefly patterns (see the table below), and size 12 bead head Prince. These underwater presentations will have the highest catch rate, giving you a chance even on the slow days. Over-all Grayling are not very picky at all, and will hit almost any small lure in the water. They will also take surface flies of a variety of types, including Royal Wulff, mosquito and mayflies, and foam ants & hoppers (although there are no grass hoppers in this northern range!).
Kaufmann’s Stonefly (sinking), size 8, 10, or 12 (maybe get two 8’s and two 12’s)
Prince Nymph (sinking), size
Elk wing caddis (floating).
Royal Humpy (floating), size 12.
Bead Head Golden Stonefly (sinking), size 8 (get two)
Royal Wulff (floating), size of your choice. If you are fishing dry flies, you should know what sizes to pick. Bigger ones would be okay (smaller number of hook means bigger fly).
Indicator Klinkhammer (floating), size 12.
If using the casting bobber technique, for the leader section that is tied to the fly, light fluorocarbon or monofilament 6-10 lb test should be fine. The eyelets on the fly hooks can be quite small, and that will dictate the size of line you will use for the fly section of the arrangement.
A casting bobber is hollow, so this will allow you to add a some water to them by loosening the centre peg a little. This way you can have as much casting weight as required to get the distance you wish. For spin fishermen, an ultralight, or light rod matches up against the Grayling optimally. A light spinning reel with 8-10 lb monofilament would be fine. However, using a newer braid of this strength will allow for longer casts and longer drifts (which is advised).
South Bend Slip Cast Spin Float, 2 ½ inch preferred. The larger size float will be more visible in the water at a distance than the 1 ½ inch size.
3-Pack Casting Bubbles 1 ⅛” X 1 ¾”
To use the fly bobbers optimally, make sure the fly is hanging about 12-18 inches below the bobber. Grayling tend to sit on the bottom of a river or stream, and will hide between rocks so the Pike and Lake trout can’t get them. At Munroe Lake the river has rocks that will vary between grapefruit to watermelon size, and the fish will easily slip right between them. Our strategy then, is to have a fly cruise over their heads, and be visible against the surface of the water. A dark fly will be easily visible against the bright sky, and therefore darker patterns are more logical. The black stonefly patterns with a brass bead head have produced the most fish because of this. The trout fishing rule of “match the hatch” where you replicate the typical bug found in the stream at any given moment will only loosely apply to Grayling, if at all. Matching the size and colour would be the only main concerns, but black works almost every time… just like in Musky fishing… so I recommend that.
Be mindful that once you hook onto a Grayling, and you have to pull her in for a longer distance, you are essentially fishing for Pike with a Grayling as a lure. The more that Grayling is thrashing around in the water, the more likely she will get bitten by a predator. So, bring her in as quickly as you can.