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Arctic Grayling (Thymallus arcticus)


The Arctic graylings’ insatiable appetite and wide distribution makes them a popular sport fish in Alaska; especially in the Interior. Because Arctic grayling have a tendency to eat almost anything, any fishing technique, including bait, lures, and flies, will work at one time or another. Fly anglers love to fish for Arctic grayling because of their willingness to rise to a dry fly.

The largest grayling fisheries occur along the road system in Interior Alaska. However, larger-size fish are generally caught in less heavily fished areas. The majority of trophy grayling (greater than 3 pounds) registered by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game have come from the Ugashik Lake and river system of Bristol Bay as well as river systems of the Nome area. The state record grayling, 23 inches long and weighing 5 pounds 1 ounce, was caught on the Seward Peninsula.

Grayling are often easy to catch, but, as with other species, the most skilled anglers with the best knowledge of grayling feeding patterns and how to fish the water will be most successful. Fly fishing techniques for grayling are similar to those used for any trout species. Generalized insect imitations such as the dry fly "Adams" and the "hare's ear nymph" are usually effective patterns for grayling. However, when feeding on a specific insect, grayling can be very finicky and the angler will be challenged to "match the hatch."


Subsistence users across the state harvest Arctic grayling. Some villages harvest only a few grayling as part of their subsistence needs, while others rely more heavily on the Arctic grayling catches to meet their food requirements for the year.