Dry fly fishing for grayling

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troutbum67

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Does your dry fly fishing extend into fishing for grayling on the dry flies , I have not noticed many posts on catching grayling on dry flies .

Even on the many threads I have started there seems to be a lack of fishing reports on fishing for grayling with a dry fly .

Even the dry fly purist seem only to mention catching brown trout on a dry fly , can any of you remember when you last caught a grayling on a dry fly .

The window of opportunity does give us a good time span , Mid June / Late November , and even in Winter , of coarse not all of us have grayling on the rivers we fish .

It would be nice to know if any of you can give a brief report of any grayling fishing on dry flies , one last question do you consider grayling fishing on the dry fly harder than fishing for brown trout .

Example , drag issues , choosing the right dry fly patterns ,as they can be fussy Bugg@s at times .
 
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stefaan

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Last oktober I caught a big rising grayling on a dry fly (deer hair caddis).It was a sunny day and I saw it rising frequently at the end of a riffle where the water got deep again. First cast and it was on.:wine:
 

Mr Notherone

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I had a good grayling day on the Wye in November, can't remember the numbers, but about 15. I was catching with nymphs but around midday there was an obvious hatch and I took 7 or 8 in just half an hour with a dry. Very satisfying.

I probably wouldn't dry fly prospect for grayling. Unless I can see them looking up I am more comfortable looking for them on the bottom, but that might just be me. Last week on the Wiltshire Avon I caught 21 grayling, none off the surface. I also miss more grayling takes with a dry than I do trout, I find a smaller fly helps a bit but it might be my poor technique.

Rightly or wrongly I have conditioned myself to catch more grayling sub surface.
 

fatshark

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I thought it's the slightly underslung mouth that makes grayling lack 'accuracy' when taking the floating fly ... didn't Charles Ritz write about that many years ago?
 
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troutbum67

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Managed a few hours on the local river today , caught 2 grayling on the nymphs and after a while noticed a few fish rising , caught 2 OOS trout and decided to move to another spot down stream .

I was determined to catch a grayling or two on the dry fly , the rises were few and far between , in the end I did catch 3 grayling on a Stuart Croft Midge and a IOBO Humpy , the grayling were holding up against a big wall and getting the right presentation was tough as faster water next to the slower moving water was making things hard , I persisted and was rewarded in the end .

I am trying to catch trout and grayling in every month of the year , I have now done this in January and February , the month of December later on in the year will be the biggest test .
 
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streamdipper

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One of my passions is grayling on the dry, had some very good days over the years, simple small CDC flies always work well I find. But there's nothing better than advice given by other fishers when fishing a new stream.
 

canefly

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Through the summer months, particularly when Mayfly are hatching, I've caught some big grayling in the 2lb bracket on dries.
 

barby

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After many years of general practise, I still couldn’t explain to you how I manage to cast a fly with a fishing rod. Nor have I ever felt the need to understand the ’’physics’’ of rod and line fishing. I just do it, and often very successfully with my DT line and Shakespeare boron rod. To me, the object of river dry fly fishing revolves around a sense that manifests through many applications. First, to see if your fly landed in the target area---second to watch a fish rise to its presentation---after the strike, to see the line tighten, or not---and lastly, to see the fish in the net. The art of dry fly fishing, therefore, revolves mainly around the sense of sight. What the fish and the fisher see, through their eyes.

An example happened when watching a rising fish refuse my dry red tag for almost half an hour. To make matters worse it continued to feast on surface naturals. After maybe 30 minutes I reluctantly changed to something rather different, a grey duster. It too was seen to be refused for another 10 minutes. As the next, almost directly upstream cast (to avoid drag) landed the fly line below, but the fly well above the fish, something suddenly clicked in the old brain box. ‘Twitch it, you *****’. As I did we both saw the fly move but only I saw the fish take it. A cracking 2 1/4 pound grayling.

Why more anglers, don’t set out to use their eyes and spend a day dry fly fishing only, I don’t understand. I know how much I prefer to see a fish take my fly, rather than hidden fish, taking unseen nymphs. But there you are, that’s only my perhaps nonconformist, but personally satisfying opinion.
 

tobesfish

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I fished the Test for the Broadlands grayling competition in october and took about 10 grayling on dries, about half of my fish. all on size 16-18 black links with purple high viz posts. they were rising everywhere.

To be honest I don't notice grayling to be any less likely to rise to dries than trout, I only catch more trout because there are more of them where I fish.
 

BobP

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Grayling have been around since the last Ice Age - 12,000 years or so. I suspect they might have learned something about taking flies off the surface in all that time.

When they are rising in heavy hatches they can be very, very specific particularly in relation to the track of the fly. I've had many experiences in Austria where the grayling have driven me off the river in despair during BWO hatches.

At the beginning of the hatch I'll catch two or three on a 16 olive Klink, then as the hatch builds and rises become more frequent, nothing. A change to another pattern may result in another couple of fish, then nothing. By now the hatch is in full swing. The fly coming off resembles a blizzard going upwards and there are fifty or more grayling in casting range. Further changes of fly results in another two or three fish.Eventually I retire hurt to the pub.

The above has occurred two or three times in shallow water.

One year I happened to be fishing an area of deeper water when the hatch kicked off. The grayling began to rise and I fished for them in classic English style - ie upstream dry. No result. Then I stopped and watched what they were doing. Along would come a BWO and up would come a grayling from the deeper water. By the time it got to the fly it had turned and was facing downstream, dorsal fin and upper tail lobe breaking surface to give the game away.The penny clicked and I re-positioned myself so that I was casting from above.

Then it was a case of drop the fly onto the water, line it up on the position of a rising grayling and "trot" the fly down to it. For an hour it was like shelling peas. 30+ grayling. The fly was a 16 Griffiths Gnat which is nothing like a BWO, but the fish weren't bothered about that. Get it on the right track was all that was needed, and of course with the fish facing away from me when they took, hitting them was no bother at all.

Ritz mentioned all this in his book. Also, I had wondered from time to time why my Austrian chums frequently fished their dries downstream and the above is why. Ritz also went into that when writing about grayling fishing on the Traun.

Trout will happily take a fly that is out to one side or the other from his position. In fact it is often better to drift the fly a foot to the side as he is less likely to see the tippet. Grayling will not move any distance laterally. They like their lunch to be served right in front of them.

I have found that general prospecting with dries is not very effective for grayling. Trout, yes. Again in Austria I fished a lovely looking pool with dries and caught two small grayling. I switched to nymphs and went over the same water and caught 12 more.

Grayling CAN be frustrating at times when using dries. However, they are very quick to respond to any surface activity. All it needs on a cold April day is half a dozen LDO's and they are up and looking. That is the opportunity you look for, but it seldom lasts long - sometimes only ten minutes.

There is a tendency to strike quickly when fishing dries for grayling. We are told that they rise very fast and spit the fly out instantly, so greased lightning strikes are needed. This is not my experience on rivers like the Itchen, Test and Avon. See the rise and just lift - maybe a trifle faster then you would for a trout but not much.

That said small - sub-6" - grayling can be virtually impossible to catch on dries. THOSE really are quick, so don't bother with them.
 
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troutbum67

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Just to recap a few things on todays fishing adventure , I fished terribly , must have wrapped the flies around the rod half a dozen times .

I took things for granted ,mainly because I had caught on this stretch before in January on the dries .

The grayling were very fussy and soon went down , I thrive on confidence and when things don't go to plan I can be slap happy .

When dry fly fishing if I get off to a good start I seem to get better as the day goes by , with nymph fishing I seem to be pretty consistent from the off . In the end I achieved my goal and managed 3 grayling on a dry fly .

More out of determination than skill ,as this was the case today , thanks for the above replies . Regards Danny
 
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Mr Notherone

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One year I happened to be fishing an area of deeper water when the hatch kicked off. The grayling began to rise and I fished for them in classic English style - ie upstream dry. No result. Then I stopped and watched what they were doing. Along would come a BWO and up would come a grayling from the deeper water. By the time it got to the fly it had turned and was facing downstream, dorsal fin and upper tail lobe breaking surface to give the game away.The penny clicked and I re-positioned myself so that I was casting from above.

Bob, I found your post very instructive. I don't have anything like your experience with grayling but I can relate entirely to that experience regards positioning. In my post above I mentioned catching some Wye grayling in November during a 30 minute hatch. Initially I missed a few rises in front of me but because there was quite a lot of surface activity I started casting to rises in other directions and hooked up with several fish to the side and behind me. Reading your comments about the fish turning and facing downstream, my experience now makes perfect sense.

This winter I've caught a lot of grayling with nymphs but very few on a dry, probably because I wouldn't prospect with a dry the same way I might for trout. Next time I get a hatch, I'll think a lot more about where I'm positioned.
 

BobP

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Bob, I found your post very instructive. I don't have anything like your experience with grayling but I can relate entirely to that experience regards positioning. In my post above I mentioned catching some Wye grayling in November during a 30 minute hatch. Initially I missed a few rises in front of me but because there was quite a lot of surface activity I started casting to rises in other directions and hooked up with several fish to the side and behind me. Reading your comments about the fish turning and facing downstream, my experience now makes perfect sense.

This winter I've caught a lot of grayling with nymphs but very few on a dry, probably because I wouldn't prospect with a dry the same way I might for trout. Next time I get a hatch, I'll think a lot more about where I'm positioned.

Charles Ritz explains it fairly well in his book "A Fly Fisher's Life" which was published back in the late '50's. Grayling like to lie deep and return to their position after taking a fly off the surface. Therefore it is a waste of time in deep water of more than a metre or so to present the fly as soon as you can after seeing the rise. Give the fish time to return to the river bed and take up position again.

His next point was that the fish, again in deep water, on seeing the fly rise up to intercept it, but are still facing upstream when they get there. This may well be the case in slow water, but in faster flows such as I had in Austria the grayling were very obviously turning over on the way up so that they were facing downstream when they took the fly. This meant that the current was helping them as they rose rather than them having to combat the flow in order to position themselves.

In shallow water they will still hug the bottom which gives them the maximum "window" of vision, but because they have less distance to travel it is a simple up and down like a trout. The only difference is that the presentation has to be accurate as the grayling won't move laterally. That, of course, rather scotches the theory that due to the shape of its mouth it has difficulty in taking flies off the surface. Were that the case grayling would take laterally as it must be easier to take a fly sideways than directly overhead.
 

sagecirca

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Surprised no-one has mentioned the amount of chances you get with grayling coming to dries. They usually afford you the courtesy of 2,3,4 chances of a successful lift into them. Whereas with trout, you get 1x chance generally.
 

Dunk

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In the summer and particularly the autumn, the dry fly out fishes nymphs for me, and grayling are rising well a lot of the time, along with the trout. Trout under the shaded banks and seeking cover, and grayling usually more midstream and tails of pools. occasionally in the head of a streamy run if there's a good hatch. It's also a good opportunity to take fish from long slow glides that are too slow or deep for nymphs. Some really good fish to be had, up to 1lb 8oz and some a little bigger now and then. I've never had a 2lb+ fish on the dry though, although I've seen some rise. 30 or more grayling on dries is a good day, with probably 5-10 trout too. The bigger trout tend to depart as the sun rises, but some can be winkled out from under trailing willows and the like, with a little careful wading.

I actually love fishing in the height of summer, standing in a cool river, finding some shade, a boulder that creates a narrow run with several fish lined up and waiting, the flash of nymphing fish over a gravel bar as a hatch begins, sometimes they are sparse hatches, but usually there's something in the air and on the water, and fish keen to rise most of the time. I find grayling are particularly good risers and even with no available surface food they'll come up to a dry if you put it over their heads, if they're in the mood. Small griffiths gnats, my 'improved' grey gnat (dubbed body and peacock herl under the hackle), F-flies and small klinks. Occasionally a sedge, and larger upwing patterns where needed. Tiny gnats and f-flies into the autumn months, and then if the weather is mild great days fishing as late as early November on grey gnats and greenfly in #22-24.

All my dry flies are tail-less, apart from some specific upwing patterns. I match the size, the general hue and use flies that suggest life and cover a few different invertebrate groups. Grey and brown dominate, and they're mainly #20 to #16 and a few of the monster #14's!

Photo of a nice summer fish on the dries (click to open larger):
mbTCYcy.jpg
 

grayling4

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I'd agree with Dunk -when the Grayling are up, the dry fly out-fishes any other form of fishing (this is my experience on the upper Welsh Dee)

What I have found with Grayling is that they won't move sideways from their lie to intercept a fly - you really have to be within 1-2cm of their 'taking line' otherwise you can forget it; however, in my experience, Grayling are much more tolerant of many casts landing around them than trout. So if you have spotted a Grayling and it hasn't taken in the first few casts keep trying - you literally might only be 2-3cm off line but it could make all the difference.
 

south esk

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I had a couple on the dry yesterday on a DHE in very brief periods of limited surface activity. If I hadn't a second rod set up ready with a dry on it I probably wouldn't have changed set up in time, or would have watched the activity end whilst I wondered if it would carry on long enough to be bothered to change.
 

sewinbasher

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We catch plenty of grayling on dry fly right through the season on the Welsh Dee, I fish just for pleasure nowadays so tend to fish the dry as a first option. I find F-Fly, Cul de Canon and Griffiths Gnat (sometimes with a pink tag) very effective. I tend to be a wimp these days so don't fish much in the winter but a friend was catching on dries up to a week or so ago.
 

black and silver

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I luv fishing for Grayling with dries, there are times when they seem so hard to catch and others so easy.
Bob P touched on something which from my observations seems to be very true with grayling, is that they don't often go for a fly that is not coming to them directly from above.
I remember one day walking up the middle of the river nidd to get to a favorite pool ( i was walking very clumsily) when i suddenly noticed 2 grayling side by side in 1 foot of water a rod length in front of me (trout would of long been gone), anyway i tried numerous times to flick the flies to them, very accurately, they kept coming down to either side of the fish, they'd move a little have a sort of look but would't take.
Not being able to believe what was happening i ended up sort of dapping the fly to them i proceeded to take both fish.
I learned a lot from this experience, Graying certainly are't shy of a clumsy angler, the fly needs to come down pretty much over the fish, this little experience i find tends to fit in with other experiences of Grayling.

Also, like my trout fishing, i don't use a particular fly, don't match no hatch, just use whatever's in my box and takes my fancy.

Most importantly, for anyone starting out, contrary to belief, You don't need to be the best caster in the world and you don't need the stealth of a ninja warrior, just get out there fish with confidence enjoy yourself, and fish with your eyes wide open observation of your surroundings will learn you more than anything else.

Tight lines.
 

evo30

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Not one fish rose to the dry today every fish on the nymph but it was very cold the smaller nymphs seem to catch the larger fish
 
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