When it comes to anglers fishing in Alaska, arctic grayling are often ignored.  Once prevalent in Michigan and Montana, now are only surviving in Montana in the lower 48.   Arctic grayling thrive in clean cold waters throughout the northern regions of Canada and Alaska and in parts of Asia.  From my personal experience, the further north you go in Alaska, the larger the grayling.

Most of our anglers coming to our Talaheim Lodge seek rainbow trout, next silver or king salmon.  Our Pacific salmon are not feeding once they enter fresh waters, but they will attack various flies that might imitate their natural food.

Technique For Catching Grayling

I love introducing grayling to beginner fly anglers.  Grayling are usually cooperative, great on a dry fly, and in places so numbered as to give non stop catching or missing opportunities….but be aware…grayling are not normal biters!  Your fly scoots across the water, a grayling rises next to it and then takes the bait on the way down.  Most anglers strike as soon as they see the grayling coming out of the water which orchestrates a big MISS!

Grayling are great on the surface, however, if there is a hatch going on, you better match it or end of with empty casts.  Mayflies, black gnats, mosquitos are but a few of the common grayling flies.  I’ve caught several larger grayling on shrew patterns.   Maggot imitations work great in the fall when our salmon are dead on the shores.

Grayling Is A Great Eating Fish

A bonus!!  Grayling are great tasting.  A very delicate white flesh and void of any parasites.  I often cook up a fish for shore lunch.  Grayling can live up to 30 years, a larger fish from 18-20 inches can be 10-15 years old.   Populations of grayling is very healthy, so I don’t mind eating a few each season.  We often serve grayling sushi.  Most of the salmon species have parasites and must be frozen before eating raw…not so for grayling.

On day I was preparing a large grayling for a shore lunch.  Inside its stomach I found the remains of two shrews and since then, I’ve often caught many grayling on smaller shrew patterns.  Grayling are a great sport fish and well worth a day’s angling.

What Else You Should Know

Our best angling for large grayling from our Talaheim Lodge are on gin clear rivers and streams.  Larger grayling seem to prefer these types of rivers over the more tannin color streams.  A large grayling in our area runs from 18-20 inches and reaching a couple pounds.  While up in the arctic herding reindeer by helicopter, from the air I could see a large school of fish feeding on the surface.  When I had the time off I borrowed the only fishing rod my boss had… a twenty pound spinning rig with a #5 Mepps.  My surface feeding fish were still where I had noticed them four days earlier.  After about 20 casts with my large lure I landed a three to four-pound grayling which had to be over 20 inches.  If I only had my #6 weight with a few mayflies.  Like I said, the name “arctic” in front of grayling mean that’s where the big ones thrive.

The best part of fishing for arctic grayling at Talaheim Lodge, grayling can be found in our rivers and streams anytime. So, no matter when you book your trip we can find grayling.

Book Your 2021 Trip

Now is the time to make your 2021 reservations. If you would like to book your 2021 Alaska Heli-Fishing adventure at Talaheim Lodge, send me an email or use the form here.

Hope to see you soon at Talaheim Lodge.


Mark Miller