One of the most enjoyable methods of catching grayling is with light, dry fly-fishing tackle. When fishing in clear rivers it is often possible to watch a grayling rise up from the river bed to take your fly. Grayling are seldom choosy about the pattern of fly you use providing it is presented correctly. If the fish are rising to a big hatch of natural fly then it is wise to use an imitation which closely resembles the natural insect. Many fancy patterns of fly are successful for catching grayling. Some of the better varieties are Green Insect. Sturdy’s Fancy and White Witch. These flies are all made from similar materials. Any fly which has a white or pale hackle combined with a peacock her] body will catch grayling”.
When grayling rise up to intercept surface flics they do so very differently from trout. Because the grayling’s mouth is underslung it has to be in a vertical position to grab the fly. As it takes the fly, the grayling rolls forward and dives back down towards the river bed. In fast water this happens very quickly indeed but in slow glides the grayling will rise up through the water more leisurely. Grayling will also readily accept a wet fly. In colder weather when the grayling are lying in the deeper glides, a leaded fly will get the line down to where the fish are feeding. Leaded shrimps and nymphs are very effective.
Grayling feed right through the winter, even in the coldest weather. At this time of year fly-fishing is not very effective and the fish are best sought using float tackle. Although they are not very large fish, grayling are strong fighters especially in a fast current where they use their large dorsal fin to great advantage. When fishing close to the bank in deeper glides, a stick float trotted clown using 2 to 3 lb (0.9 to 1.35 kg) breaking strain line is ideal. Begin by fishing close to the bottom and control the float so that it travels down the swim slightly slower than the current. Look for places where the faster currents run alongside pools of slower water. The grayling frequently take up position right alongside the fast water. During the autumn, grayling will be found in the shallow rippled water. The traditional bob floats advocated for catching grayling in this type of water are not very efficient. Small carrot floats have the buoyancy of a bob float but are more streamlined and offer less resistance to the current. These floats will allow you to fish in very shallow water. Let the float travel clown at the speed of the current. When a grayling takes the bait the current will force your float under.
In really cold conditions worms are more attractive than maggots or redworms since they retain their wriggle. Maggots stiffen and elongate in cold water and lose their effectiveness. A good grayling hooked in a fast current fights very strongly. The fight of a grayling is similar to that of an eel. The fish lunges and twists in the strong current. The side of a grayling’s mouth is a very thin membrane, and fish hooked in this spot will frequently shed the hook. Unhooking grayling is not always easy because the fish twist and squirm so much when you gel hold of them. The best way to hold a grayling is to grasp it around the middle and hold it upside-down. Held like this they usually remain still long enough to enable you to remove the hook. In really cold weather, grayling will still feed but are less likely to be in the really fast water. Laying on with float tackle in pools at the side of the main flow will produce fish.
There are a number of species which inhabit rivers and lakes which are not really large enough to offer good sport but are usually very numerous and easy to catch. The experienced angler normally tries to avoid catching them but such fish give the young angler the encouragement he needs to develop into a better angler. Most of these small fish are excellent bait fishes Cor large predatory fish such as pike, zander and chub.