Arctic Grayling

Arctic Grayling

These unique fish demand clear, clean water to survive, the main reason that they are all but extinct in the lower 48. They thrive on the Seward Peninsula, and are a great sport on a fly rod. Arctic grayling are the oldest fish in the bunch up here and are known to live for as long as 30 years. Arctic grayling undertake annual migrations within the river seeking out spawning areas in the early spring and then moving to summer feeding areas where they remain until moving to a suitable over wintering location in the late fall.

Arctic grayling in Norton Sound streams can reach a very large size because of the influence of large runs of pink salmon on the productivity of watersheds. Salmon bring tons of marine derived nutrients into fresh water each year. In addition, they provide a more direct benefit to resident grayling in the form of salmon eggs and fry.

Arctic grayling spend 8 to 9 months each year under the ice without feeding much, and after spawning in the spring they must feed heavily all summer in order to be able to reproduce the next spring. In addition to salmon eggs and fry, Arctic grayling feed primarily on drifting stream insects and have been known to even eat shrews. Early in the summer and during late, sunny evenings, fish for grayling on the surface with an Adams, Elk Hair Caddis, Renegade, Mosquito, Ant or Mouse. Later in the day and during the salmon runs, throw an egg-sucking leech, woolly bugger, egg pattern, gold ribbed hare’s ear, fry pattern, or almost any attractor fly.

Arctic grayling on the Seward Peninsula receive very little fishing pressure and because of their longevity we take special care to release all these fish very carefully.  The Alaska state record Arctic grayling weighing 5 lb., 1 0z. and measuring nearly 23 inches in length was caught and released by one of our anglers in 2008.

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