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Category: Fly Fishing Basics | Author: Ála Richie

A universal guide to fly fishing for European river grayling, which contains everything you need to know about this favorite fishing theme "River grayling on the fly". You will learn the right fishing techniques & tactics, suitable fly fishing gear and the best flies for grayling fishing on the most European rivers and streams, where these beautiful fish species still occur naturally.

A beautiful specimen of the male of grayling, which I caught on a very fine rod of category 2wt on one Czech mountain small river with a still very good grayling population. Such a grayling conjures a smile even on frozen face!

THE GRAYLING (Thymallus Thymallus) is, in my opinion, one of our most beautiful and elegant native river fish, which we can still fish freely and purposefully on artificial flies! It could be said that autumn grayling fishing is the peak of the "traditional" fly fishing season. I write "traditional" for the reason that in the past, in short, fly fishing method was not fished continuously throughout the year - as it is today, and so grayling fish actually ended that fly fishing year!

Since the earlier years that I mention above, a lot has certainly changed and the status of grayling in our beautiful trout and non-trout waters has dropped considerably. However, the aim of this article is not to look for and list all the possible reasons why this happened, but rather to help everyone realize that the grayling is a truly beautiful and noble fish creature, which - if we want to continue fishing freely - we must protect and in its natural environment, it is necessary to behave as respectfully as possible, respect and especially observe the rest period (protection period) and especially take into account its sensitivity, especially before and during the spawning season, when grayling is particularly sensitive!

For condition in the Czech Republic - Again, I will not forgive a bit of criticism at the account of the ČRS (Czech Fishermen's Association), which should set an example for ordinary fishermen, but in fact, for example, most of the PROHIBITIONS OF WADING in the period before rubbing grayling in waters known to me have been completely lifted! Sorry? Because there are no more grayling? Aha ... In any case, we will probably agree that this is certainly no solution to the situation ... The mentioned example is of course mainly a matter of specific MO (a local fisheries organization operating on a particular section of the river), but I am of the opinion that the ČRS should take care of this beautiful fish, which also has himself still in his symbol/logo, care much better and monitor her condition in detail and actively protect grayling!

Another beautiful male of grayling, which pleasantly surprised me during the trout fishing in May on the river Loučná. This small river was full of large grayling in the past. I'm afraid that today one can only remember the times when as young fly fisherman actually didn't know anything yet, but even so, it was not a problem to catch graylings around 45 cm here on big Czech Nymphs on 8 hook.

So it's up to us!! If you visit districts where you know that the grayling population occurs, do not step unnecessarily into the water (especially in shallower parts of rivers) in the spring and do not go there significantly! Ideally, go around such places and fish in deeper parts - outside the spawning places! Grayling - despite (increasingly incomprehensible to me) the possibility of keeping them - mainly protect and gently let go back! 🔄

For this reason, this guide and other related articles are aimed, for my part, mainly at the fishing of grayling in the autumn season, because I believe that in other periods, targeted fishing of this beautiful fish should not take place completely actively, certainly not with a certain regularity! Because if we omit the already mentioned sensitivity of grayling in the period before and during its spawning, we must realize that the summer months in our country are not among the most watery and especially salmonid fish are quite worried about survival at low water level, when in rivers and very little oxygen, let alone making it difficult for them by their targeted fishing at such times!

Personally, I love fishing for graylings in late September - November (only a few times), when the atmosphere of "autumn grayling time" - intensified by the colorful nature preparing for winter - really beautiful and if the sunny day comes out, during which graylings rise tiny mayflies on the surface, one feels like in a fly fairy tale! I personally take such experiences as a great and exceptional gift, and we all know for sure that what is repeated very often - loses its effect and actually lacks a bit of meaning! In short - everything in moderation and we will all be satisfied - we fishermen and grayling!

The majesty of the grayling flag in the rays of the autumn sun. I caught this "Flag Bearer" on a nymph in a deep pool on one beautiful autumn day on the non-trout part of the river Úpa. According to the large and colored dorsal fin with the tips - the "Flag" - you can clearly distinguish the cock fish from the hen fish, which has this fin smaller and "square".

OCCURRENCE AND LIVING HABITS: The grayling live mainly in running waters of all sizes (from the former division of the so-called "Grayling zone" (In the Czech Republic), but with some overlaps into mountain streams and still waters) and as it is in virtually every fish - depending on the temperature and water purity , its usability (amount of suitable food), occurrence of predators, fishing pressure and other important factors for fish life - grayling according to these conditions thrive and reach the appropriate sizes. In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, it could be said that the larger and lowland the trout/grayling river (Ohře, Vltava, Otava, Váh, Orava), the larger grayling, but it certainly cannot be taken as a dogma!

For example In England, grayling was for a long time completely overlooked by the trout-fly fishers themselves and were considered more like a weed fish, which disrupts them with its strikes when fishing for noble trout. Grayling were caught mainly on earthworms when float fishing. But relatively recently, modern English fly fishers have begun to discover the beauty of sport fly fishing grayling on the local lowland and chalk streams. That's why we can now watch catches of beautiful grayling from the UK! Another paradise for really big grayling, which is also caught in large numbers, are the Nordic countries such as Sweden and Finland!

In our conditions, larger specimens and grayling in general began to disappear mainly due to (apart from the negative effect of predators) the improvement of water quality / purity, eg after the construction of treatment plants on usable lowland grayling streams. Grayling love sediment and fine moss deposited on rocks and riverbeds, which they can scrape off and filter food from. And even though it sounds a bit like a paradox - after the improvement of water quality in some districts, these conditions favorable for graylings disappeared and with them the graylings themselves disappeared, or their population decreased or the quality of fish growth deteriorated.

In mountain streams, where grayling is acclimatized to ice and clear water (Elbe, Úpa, Slovakias Belá, etc.), their population is still relatively strong, but on the other hand you can not expect normal catches of grayling giants - see the above-mentioned "rule" with larger rivers!

The grayling in beautiful autumn colors could not resist my little tungsten nymph offered upstream in a medium-deep current! While viewing the photo of this fish, I can't wait for another expedition to the kingdom of these beautiful fish creatures!

Of course, grayling also inhabits some still waters (quite common in the world - Scandinavia) and their catch is a beautiful diversification in trout fishing by still water fly fishing in the Czech Republic! Large individuals still occur at the Elbe Dam in Špindlerův Mlýn, where there is great hope for catching a nice grayling, especially in the tributary - I myself caught beautiful grayling for dry flies and nymphs.

Furthermore, grayling can also be found, for example, on the Vír reservoir, and I caught lake graylings on the lower dam Čierný Váh on Slovakia. It can be said that the catch of grayling from stagnant water is not excluded on any dam with a tributary of a trout river or stream (mountain reservoirs). In any case, grayling is definitely a river fish in this respect and in our conditions, because in still waters you will usually find it at tributaries with flowing water. For this reason, other articles from the set "Fly Fishing For Grayling" will be focused mainly on its river fly fishing!

If you are more deeply interested in the life of the grayling and its fishing on fly fishing equipment, I can warmly recommend to you to read "Czech Nymph And Other Related Fly Fishing Methods". You will certainly be perfectly drawn into the atmosphere of grayling fishing in the form of short fishing stories which you can read in book "Fishing In Grayling Paradise". All books are by Mr. Křivanec.

In addition to the recommended publications, you will of course also find a lot of very interesting historical articles and galleries on our website, which are devoted to grayling and its fishing of an artificial fly, possibly related to this topic!

⭐ If you want to be truly prepared, fsihing effective and maximally successful in the targeted fly fishing for grayling, you should definitely not miss the following related articles, which are part of my comprehensive FLY FISHING SPECIAL dedicated to just one of our noblest and most magnificent salmonid fish:




For the right motivation for autumn grayling fishing, I have prepared for you a thematic gallery dedicated to all the beauties of grayling and also the magical uniqueness of its romantic fishing for an artificial fly in a quiet river landscape!


 For the right motivation for autumn grayling fishing, I have prepared for you a thematic gallery dedicated to all the beauties of grayling and also the magical uniqueness of its romantic  fishing for an artificial fly in a quiet river landscape!
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