What is your "go to" dry fly & nymph for river grayling?
What is your "go to" dry fly & nymph for river grayling?
Size 18 Griffith Gnat and a size 16 brassie. But those are not my most productive flies, which are a size 12 royal coachman (wet fly) and a size 12 red-butt beadhead soft hackle (flymph).
In my humble opinion, one can't go wrong floating a elk hair caddis, size 14 or 16, but also try the usual trout dry flies like the PMD and BWO mosquito and such. But floating a black ant of some type near structure can get you some explosive takes from big fish.
Broke my favorite Sage 4 weight rod the other night by slamming a truck door on it. That rod has been with me all over Alaska, in and out of airplanes, trucks, ATVs, rafts, boats...you name it, and I go ahead and slam a door on it right here at home. So I sent it back to Sage (it's a Graphite 2 so I bet it will leave them in a dilemma about what to do for me) and I bought a new rod yesterday to replace it in the meantime. See you up there!
Without a doubt, the biggest blue dunn you can buy and a bead headed prince nymph.
You know your not catching any fish when you start talking about the weather...
It depends on the day and the location in my experience with grayling. At Tangle lake/river I once went through every single pattern in my box without a hookup until I was down to a Royal Coachman dry, after tying that fly on I cound not keep them off. Had the same thing happen at the outlet of Crescent lake until I put my "last pattern" to the test, a Tan Elkhair Caddis, the wife and I caught fish after fish. A Gulkana river float I went on, the fly of choice was a Purple Egg Sucking Leech, it was unbeatable.
The most notable difference of those three examples is that the Gulkana is the only water that contained spawning salmon.
The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.
Oh Snap Dan! Snap Snap Snap and than again Snap!
Ok I'll bite! A lot has depending on the systems your fishing. As an example on the Chena I fish Griffith Gnat size 12-18 KISS being that you have the Midges, Skeeters, Chroms etc... it is a general use pattern that produces well most of the time. Jim is also correct in using the Caddis in different colors and sizes the Chena has a good Caddis and small Stone fly that hatches for most of the year so both patterns produce well most of the time.
Big Cox is also correct being that he likes to fish Sparkle Duns on the Delta Clear Water which is a spring creek and has very good true May Fly Hatches from June through the end of Sept.
Dan I like the way you think and in fact fishing heavy weighted buggers is my favorite Gulkana method of chasing bigger grayling.
In the end it all comes down to what you like to fish with and have found to be the most productive fishing in your area.
I have two dries I fish always first one being the Griffith Gnat followed by the Royal Coachman Trude and or a Version of it called Betty McNualt it's a U.P thing.
That does not take away from the Caddis nor does it prove to be better than the Sparkle Dun aka original Fran Betters Hay Stack with an Antron trailing shuck or Mid Wing Thorax by K.I.
Good Luck sorry for typing errors and rambling.
The blue dunn. Like crack to them!
I used to take flies (and rods) specific to grayling and other targeted fish, often dollies. Then I realized grayling were voraciously hitting the size 2-4 flies I was throwing at the dollies. I also noticed I got my biggest (by far) grayling deep and often at the head of bigger pools. Fishing on top and middle water column nearly always resulted in small to middle sized fish. In my opinion the big boys hang out in the laminar flow on the stream bottom. Same applies to dollies and many other species. Deep is, well, deep irregardless of where you wet a line. When I say deep, I am referring to the point at which fish can't go any lower. It is a great place to put your offering. Took me about 2 years to figure that out. Perhaps you will fare better.
Sometimes the big fish do hit the surface though. Biggest gray I've caught was up the middle chena on a blue dunn. Moose hunting season 2005 (early Sept), 21.5".
Bead head bugger is a great call and I like them best in a cream or off white color as well as olive or black.
"The North wind is cold no matter what direction it's blowing"
I know it isn't the fly being asked about, and I don't target them as we mostly fish for rainbows- but I have caught a lot of them on stone fly patters, and dolly llamas (#6 as well as #2's)!
I've been fishing heavily-weighted Frenchies and a few other European-style nymphs for the first time this season and pretty early on I was pulling big grayling out of places I didn't expect to actually catch any fish.
[QUOTE=mlshore;1295457]TRUTH. (But people like to fish dries - it's fun.)
Thanks all, I have most everything mentioned in my fly box. I agree my bigger fish have come off the bottom on a nymph (I will have to try streamers) but I love catching grayling on fast moving streams with dries (blue dun is my go to). Size isn't everything.
The reason for the question is we are fishing the Tangle Lakes area soon and I'm going to fish a dry fly (probably a #14/12 stimulator) with a dropper nymph(#16 Lightning bug). I didn't mention that originally because I didn't want to get into a discussion about tying droppers. Save that for another thread.
Indeed the largest grayling will often be found at the head of a pool or run, and down deep. The largest and most dominant fish go where the best food source is, one that doesn't require a great amount of effort to obtain. But they will come out of those dark areas and "hunt" and sometimes that puts them in shallow tail water, like during evening hours.
Once while on assignment up on the Seward Peninsula my guide and I decided to try and break the state grayling record. We motored up a tiny clear water stream but found no grayling after a long upriver trip. We did find a long and deep run with a pile of silvers resting in it. Armed with only my tiny 3 wt Sage I just sat and watched the silvers until my eye spied large dark forms lying just downstream of those silvers. No rainbows up that way; they were very large grayling lying in wait for salmon eggs way down low in some 6 to 8 feet of water. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, so I cast a size 14 Elk Hair Caddis upon the water. It was magical to watch a "small" grayling of just under 21 inches and over 3 pounds rise all the way up and sip that fly off the surface. I waded upstream and continued to catch grayling to just over 23 inches for several hours. We used a certified Chatillion scale and weighed grayling up to near four pounds, but couldn't seem to get any higher. The new state record, a fish over 5 pounds, did come out of this same general area. So the big guys will come out of hiding down deep, or in the dark corners, but they do so on their own rules and typically will take something large; sort of a full-meal-deal! Again on assignment, and fishing a terrific slough off the main river for huge pike, I fished a 6 inch long rabbit fur pike fly on a 10 weight. I could see huge pike hunting along through the slough, and when I got my first strike I figured it was, of course, a pike. Nope. It was a 21 inch grayling. Big fish. Big food.
This is such a fun thread to read.
I fished the upper Chena for a while Sunday and couldn't get a single fish to rise for hours. Caddis, coachman, mayfly, mosquito, ant.. all unproductive. I tied on a big, ugly hare's ear 18" under an indicator and couldn't keep them off the rest of the day.
A nymph fisherman from the Smokies always told me that the difference in a good fisherman and a great fisherman was a couple of pieces of split shot. I'm trying to train myself out of the old habits though. Maybe we need a former nympher support group...
Passing up shots on mergansers since 1992.
I wonder to what extent fishing style, etc. makes a difference in how fish respond - whether or not some people fish a certain fly better and that's the difference, rather than the fly itself. For example, two people go out the same day to the same stretch of water and one person is having an epic day with Fly A but can't catch spit with Fly B, while the other person has the opposite situation. I've often felt that the main thing that grayling respond to is a convincing presentation, but in terms of fly choice a lot of the time they'll eat pretty much anything as long as it doesn't look fake (except for the youngsters - they can be pretty careless).
Going deep with a big presentation does make sense. Before I picked up a fly rod, I caught a lot of grayling on Mepps spinners or a white curly tail grub on a jig.
Enough of all this talk and theory. I'm going the head up there later this afternoon and check it all out. Since I broke my favorite 4 wt a few nights ago I now have to properly introduce my brand new 4 wt with brand new Ross real to some fish!
Go get'em Jim! Did you drop the big bucks and purchase one of those fancy Scott rods with the agate strip guide?