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Thread: Chena grayling: how big do they get?

  1. #1
    Member SkinnyD's Avatar
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    Default Chena grayling: how big do they get?

    I've caught a zillion fish in the Chena this spring, and I'd say 75% have been within an two inches of being the same size... 8-12 inches nearly every time. So I'm curious as to how big they get in the river. According to the handy species information page from ADFG (http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm...cgrayling.main), the larger ones should be finding their way toward the upper end by now, and I haven't been there to find out if the size is any different. I can only report that the middle river is quite full of the little ones.

    Since this is theoretically a give-and-take informational swap.... I've been fishing straight upstream with wet coachmen, emergers, and gnats - between the fast water and the bank. (Here is some information buried deep within an obscure post: I saw a chinook in the river Monday). Long leader and lots of casts... once the fly has drifted five or six feet, I'm picking it up for the next cast. Very few backcasts also - just pick it up and set it back down easy. Lots of grayling with sore jaws.
    Passing up shots on mergansers since 1992.


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    Member aktyler's Avatar
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    i usualy find a few on every trip in the 18-20" range

  3. #3
    Premium Member Wyo2AK's Avatar
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    Fished the Chena for the first time a couple weeks ago. Spent a couple evenings on the river after work and ended up with two fish around 18". Hooked another of the same class or possibly bigger (I like to think bigger haha) that wrapped up around a log and broke off. From what I've heard, I'm sure there are some going over 20".

    Caught a couple of fish on that pink/white beadhead wet fly you put in the swap!
    Pursue happiness with diligence.

  4. #4

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    There are big models up the Middle Fork, many over the 20" mark. Big, Dark models that live in the few deep holes with logs and structure. Fun times!

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    We caught them in the 20 range on the upper regularly, and my biggest grayling ever was in the lower chena - pegged right at 22"

    but that was MANY years ago...back in the 80's. That being said - the majority of the fish we got then was were in the the 8 - 12 inch range.

  6. #6

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    I don't get to fish it near as often as I'd like, say once every other year. But it seems like every time I do I manage a few in the 18-20" range and occasionally bigger. Never broke 22" but I have nudged it a few times.

    My experience is that you get a zillion up to 12" or so in the easy-to-fish places, especially on nymphs. The bigguns are always in spots that challenge the best caster, and really put you through your moves managing fly and leader after the cast. And about 99.9% of them have come to dries rather than nymphs. My top two have been a #18 Adams Parachute or a #18 BWO later in the summer or a #16 PMD earlier. You know you're close to right in pattern and delivery when one of those toads rises up just under your fly, then drifts downstream right under it, watching for the least bit of leader drag. If you can keep the drag off till the last possible moment, they finish the rise and you're on. Then it's up to you to keep them out of the snags.

    Probably the best fishing in Alaska if you enjoy a challenge and get a sense of accomplishment out of beating really smart fish. Sounds funny to say that about grayling, but the big ones seem almost like a separate species from the small dumb ones.

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    I can usually find a few decent ones up that way. Gets betters as the Kings move in. Try some white tube jigs.







    Steve
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  8. #8
    Member SkinnyD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wyo2AK View Post
    Caught a couple of fish on that pink/white beadhead wet fly you put in the swap!
    The same fly with a black hackle is pretty deadly too. I'm glad you got a chance to catch something on it.



    And I love those pictures, Stid. Nice fish! You always have excellent photos of any particular topic.
    Passing up shots on mergansers since 1992.


  9. #9

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    Some of the biggest one's I've caught were on big black, Kauffman rubberleg, beadhead stoneflies swung deep under logs. The big one's didn't get that way being dumb, that's for sure. Nice pictures Stid.

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    Premium Member Wyo2AK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    I don't get to fish it near as often as I'd like, say once every other year. But it seems like every time I do I manage a few in the 18-20" range and occasionally bigger. Never broke 22" but I have nudged it a few times.

    My experience is that you get a zillion up to 12" or so in the easy-to-fish places, especially on nymphs. The bigguns are always in spots that challenge the best caster, and really put you through your moves managing fly and leader after the cast. And about 99.9% of them have come to dries rather than nymphs. My top two have been a #18 Adams Parachute or a #18 BWO later in the summer or a #16 PMD earlier. You know you're close to right in pattern and delivery when one of those toads rises up just under your fly, then drifts downstream right under it, watching for the least bit of leader drag. If you can keep the drag off till the last possible moment, they finish the rise and you're on. Then it's up to you to keep them out of the snags.

    Probably the best fishing in Alaska if you enjoy a challenge and get a sense of accomplishment out of beating really smart fish. Sounds funny to say that about grayling, but the big ones seem almost like a separate species from the small dumb ones.
    Well said BrownBear. My best two fish came on #18 elk hair caddis drifted right down into the snags. There were a few caddis coming off the water all night. Challenging for sure to get takes from the bigger fish.
    Pursue happiness with diligence.

  11. #11
    Member Raffpappy's Avatar
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    Good info, guys. Thanks. I've fished the middle river a couple times this year. On each occasion I got into good numbers of fish, but never anything greater than 14" and most in the 10-12" range. All of mine were taken open water with mosquito, adams, and caddis patterns. Sounds as though I've got to drop some nymphs on some deep water structure if I want to see a trophy sized fish!

  12. #12
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    Fished the Chena all day yesterday and did ok. Most were the typical 12"ers, but I took one around 16 and another 18-19 inches. All on dry flies, usually a elk hair caddis. Often the size of the fly doesn't matter, and using a size 14 or even 12 is kinder on my aging eyes, but the fish actually preferred size 16 dark elk hair caddis flies. Felt as though I were on the Clearwater. Great fun. Great fishery.Jim

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    Member Hoyt's Avatar
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    I'm in the same boat as most here. I find bigger fish up further this time of year. The big boys like structure. I have always done well using a Parachute Adams. It's my favorite fly for Grayling. I have lots of them in my boxes.

  14. #14
    Member JediMasterSalmonSlayer's Avatar
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    I like using lagre size blue dunn's

    These have worked great for me for top water grayling everywhere I have fished them.

    Upper chena is fun....Delta Clearwater has been epic
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    Quote Originally Posted by JediMasterSalmonSlayer View Post
    I like using lagre size blue dunn's

    These have worked great for me for top water grayling everywhere I have fished them.

    Upper chena is fun....Delta Clearwater has been epic
    Agreed, much worth the trip down to the Delta Clearwater in DJ. Best grayling fishing by far if you are looking for larger fish.

  16. #16
    Member bigcox's Avatar
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    What are you two talking about? Theres no fish in Delta...
    You know your not catching any fish when you start talking about the weather...


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