Photo of catching grayling fish: rafting for grayling on small rivers

All about grayling fishing

Grayling is perhaps the most recognizable fish among freshwater salmon. The classification of the species is rather confusing, there are three main species and dozens of subspecies. The Mongolian grayling is considered the largest and “ancient”. In terms of maximum size, it is slightly inferior to the European grayling living in the northern regions of the European part of Eurasia. Ichthyologists associate the large size of the northern grayling with feeding on caviar and juveniles of other salmon fish. The maximum size of the fish can reach 6 kg. The Siberian species is distinguished by a wide variety of subspecies. They differ from each other not only in morphological features, but also in size. Grayling is an impassable fish migrating over short distances. There are lake forms, among which there are slow-growing ones. In recent years, grayling has been bred for recreational and recreational use. In particular, in Europe, grayling populations are being actively restored in regions where it was previously “squeezed out”, bred for commercial purposes, trout. In addition, in the lakes, grayling is bred for commercial fishing.

Ways to catch grayling

Grayling fishing is distinguished by a wide variety of fishing methods and is carried out in almost all seasons except for the spawning period. In addition to the usual for any angler, fishing with float, spinning, fly fishing tackle, winter jigs and spinners, grayling is caught with a “boat” and dozens of specialized equipment.

Catching grayling on spinning

If you do not take into account fly fishing, then catching grayling with spinning lures is considered the main one by most European anglers. Perhaps this is due to the fact that the predatory instinct of the European grayling is more developed. Siberian anglers associate grayling fishing with artificial fly fishing and, in part, with float gear. At the same time, spinning rods have found application as gear for long-distance casting when using various gear using flies and tricks. Spinning rods are convenient in that they can be used both for catching taimen and lenok, with large spinners, and for rigs such as “gossip” and “Tyrolean stick”, using tricks. With such equipment, spinning rods are needed with large tests and lengths, perhaps 3 m or more. Reels are taken to match the rods: with a capacious spool and preferably with a high gear ratio for high-speed winding. Rig casting is done across the current, with the expectation of drift. Often fishing takes place on the main jet, surface equipment, as a rule, is bulky and has a lot of drag. This increases the load on reels and rods. The same gear is also used to fish on lakes, making slow surface rigging or stepwise, in the case of drowning. In specialized grayling fishing with spinning lures, spinners and wobblers are usually quite small, therefore, fishing with ultralight baits is quite possible. Such fishing for grayling, for spinning baits, is popular on small rivers or from boats. It is worth noting that some anglers believe that trolling can “cut off” the capture of small fish. This rule works in part: the grayling is quite aggressive by nature, it often attacks rivals, so it “blushes” even on large “wobblers”.

Fly fishing for grayling

Fly fishing for grayling is the most popular type of fishing among lovers of recreation on the northern and especially Siberian rivers. A small correction needs to be made here. This rule is true for small and medium rivers. It is very difficult to convince a resident of the Yenisei, Angara or other large rivers of Siberia that fly fishing is convenient for fishing on such reservoirs. Therefore, local residents prefer various spinning and other long-distance casting gear. On large rivers, for comfortable long casts, experienced fly fishers can be advised to use switch rods. With their help, you can perfectly cast various sinking baits, for example: nymphs and tricks. Switch rods work much more effectively with large flies, which can help when catching “trophy” specimens. With regards to the choice of one-handed gear, it is difficult to give accurate advice here. Along with trout, grayling is the fish for which dozens of tackles are created every year. For fishing in streams, cords and rods of zero grades are suitable. The use of rods for lines of 7-10 class for catching grayling, in our opinion, is not justified, especially in relation to fishing for “dry flies”. There is an opinion that due to the weight of the line, it is possible to increase the casting distance, for which high-class rods may be suitable. But here another problem arises: the control of a large mass of the released line, a short one-handed rod, creates discomfort in fishing. The choice of line depends on the fishing conditions, for fishing on deep and fast rivers, sinking lines may be required, but this is more likely due to special conditions. For most trips you can get by with 1-2 floating lines and a set of undergrowth. Tenkara fishing is gaining more and more popularity. Although in Siberia and the Far East, similar, but more primitive tackle has always been fished. Tenkara is rather a rebirth of the old gear into a “new look”.

Catching grayling with float and bottom tackle

Catching grayling with natural, animal baits is still relevant in regions where this fish predominates. It is worth considering that bottom fishing for grayling is seasonal and takes place in spring and autumn. Float fishing can also be carried out on artificial lures, moreover, some anglers use both “nymphs” and “floating flies” on the same rig. The nymph is fixed without a shed on the main line, and “dry” on a separate, sliding leash above the float. In many regions of Siberia, the autumn grayling worm fishing is not an amateur fishing, but a fish catch.

Catching grayling with other gear

Grayling is caught on “boats” and “draws”. Here it is worth considering that the rules regulate the number of hooks on which grayling can be caught. Usually no more than ten. Fishing for the “boat” is very exciting and requires special skills. Grayling is caught in winter on spinners and mormyshkas. At the same time, bait with worms and invertebrates is possible. Fishing rods and fishing lines do not require special delicacy; on the contrary, it is better to use strong, even rough gear. Grayling ice fishing is very mobile and can take place in severe frost. It is worth noting the use of a large number of options for “long casting rods” and “running equipment”. The first list includes various gear for the “sbirulino – bombard”, “Czech water-filled float” and various sliding float equipment. For fishing on small rivers, analogues of the “English fishing rod” or “short” Bolognese “for fishing with float equipment on the” descent “are successfully used. As well as various match, “Bologna”, even feeder rods, which are successfully used for fishing with Balda, Potaskunya, Abakansky, Angarsky, Yenisei and other equipment.


Here, rather, it is worth noting that the grayling practically does not react to vegetable baits. Bait works only in exceptional cases. Fishing with natural baits depends on the region, for example, in the Far East, grayling is also caught on caviar. In general, it responds to all types of invertebrate larvae and their adult forms, to fry. In winter, it can be caught on spinners or mormyshkas with replanting from a piece of fish meat, fry or fish eye. Spinners are preferable with a soldered hook. It is difficult to describe the whole range of artificial lures, but it is worth noting that some anglers catch grayling exclusively on pieces of cambric or wound on a shank, brass wire or foil. The Siberian grayling reacts somewhat worse to “wet flies” (in the classical sense) and “streamers”. It is much more efficient to use “nymphs” and “dry flies”. Spinners and wobblers should be taken in small sizes. It should be noted that the food preferences of graylings depend not only on the species and regional characteristics, but also on the fishing season. In different life cycles, the available species and size composition of prey in the reservoir changes, and therefore food preferences. When traveling to an unfamiliar region, it is worth clarifying with the guides the fishing preferences of local fish. As an example: if you are used to catching grayling in the northern and European regions with a lure, this does not mean that this method is definitely suitable for fishing in Lake Baikal or its tributaries.

Places of fishing and habitat

Graylings are distributed throughout most of Central and Eastern Europe, throughout Siberia, Mongolia, the Far East, and North America. You can catch grayling both in lakes and in rivers. Fish rarely migrate long distances. Grayling is demanding on water (temperature, turbidity and level), so not only spring or autumn migrations are possible. With an increase in water temperature, fish deaths and migrations are possible even in the smallest streams with cold water. In summer, territorial differences are noticeable in the places where fish live, in size. Large individuals can stay alone in depressions of the terrain or take places near obstacles and ambushes. The smallest, constantly feeding individuals stand closer to the shore or on the floods of the river, including on shallow rifts. At the ambush points, in the lower part of the rapids and rifts, there are schools with fish of different ages and sizes, at the best points – the strongest and largest individuals. Medium-sized graylings can often be found on the edge of pits, along the bank or near the riverbed. In small rivers, fish move more often, but most of the time they are in holes and behind obstacles. In lakes, grayling stays closer to the pits; it can feed on the mouths of rivers and on the coastline.


It becomes sexually mature at 2-4 years. Spawns in April – June and depends on the region. Lake forms can spawn both on the lake itself and in tributary rivers. They make small nests in sandy-pebble or rocky bottom. Spawning is rapid, with fights. In males of all species, the color changes to a brighter one. After spawning, it goes to feed in places of permanent residence.

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