Grayling in small rivers
These notes are for beginners in grayling. You can perfectly catch roach, perch or dace, but be completely helpless loser when hunting for grayling. I went through this. I probably did not have good teachers or the right books, and it may very well be that I would not have been involved in catching grayling if it weren’t for a fortunate occasion. It happened many years ago, though not with me, but with my friend. Then we spent the whole day fishing. Our successes were modest. The fact that there is grayling in the river, and decent, we knew and tried to catch at least one. I experimented in amateurish ways with artificial flies and fly fishing, and my friend tried to succeed with a fishing rod and a planted worm. Grayling was not given to us.
It’s getting dark. I left, my friend lingered on the shore, unraveling the fishing line. At one point, he noticed that a light brown butterfly (which later turned out to be a caddis butterfly), which had sunk onto the water, disappeared with a splash. It turned out to be easy to catch a similar one, it was even easier to remove the sinker from the fishing line untangled by then. Casting, the nozzle swam a bit, a slight burst repeated, my friend hooked – and the first small grayling was caught! In the future, using his direct experience, it was possible to optimize the tackle and method of fishing. This required a lot of exits to the river, a lot of patience and perseverance. And the river opened to us!
… So, the discussion here is not about catching grayling by spinning with small spinners and not about classic fly fishing. I set the task more modestly – to give some advice to anglers who already have skills in catching perches, darts and roaches, so that they can naturally engage in grayling, and it is on small rivers. (By the way, the dace in the habitat is often a companion of grayling and can bite with it one by one.) I also exclude fishing in the traditional way in advance – using a worm, a float fishing rod with a long one-piece fishing rod from a birch, say, a whip – as not athletic enough, ineffective and unaesthetic. Beautiful fish requires beautiful gear. And grayling – this is recognized by everyone who wrote about it – is an exceptionally beautiful fish.
Which rivers can be considered small? The definitions given in the scientific literature are limited, for example, “the length should not exceed 100 kilometers” (from which it follows that the Neva is also a small river, since it is 74 kilometers long …), so let’s give our peace of mind. We will consider the river small, if without big tricks, using a conventional spinning tackle, weights can be transferred weighing 10-20 grams from one bank to another, that is, a river about 30-50 meters wide. I am sure that each of us has our own favorite small river, and everyone can imagine it specifically.
How to start grayling fishing? First of all, try to read the literature on the biology of this fish. The next step is to choose a small river on which you will undergo grayling “baptism”. The information obtained from more experienced anglers or your own observations will help you with this. And here, for the first time, the fisherman will need the persistence already mentioned.
If grayling does not find itself in characteristic circles on the surface of the water – “kisses” – or bursts, especially in the afternoon, or because of the absence of insects flying over the river and falling into the water, then some other reason is useful “ tease ”him. To do this, catch grasshoppers of medium size and let them flow, along different streams, at different distances from the coast. A moving grasshopper floating on the surface of the water is a very strong irritant for grayling. And if there is a grayling on this site, he will certainly prove himself – he will grab the grasshopper.
There are at least four types of places that grayling in a river prefers – they are shown in the diagram.
– threshold with surface and pitfalls. Grayling prefers to be on the side of the main stream, behind surface stones, where there is a quiet or reverse flow
– a reach of about one and a half meters deep, with a high steep meadow shore, where there are an abundance of grasshoppers. Grayling is located in the middle of the river and closer to the shore.
– roll with small and medium-sized pitfalls. Grayling is often found on the side of the main stream, behind the bend of the coast at the boundary of the forward and reverse currents.
– the current is pressed to the shore, deciduous trees hang over the water. Grayling prefers to be behind stones, slightly protruding above the surface of the water, and behind half-sunken trunks, which are intensively washed by the current.
The river should be clean, with cold water, bottom keys, with a relatively fast flow and separate rapids, not to experience hard pressure from anglers specializing in grayling. Catching grayling, I think, is best done with half-fly fishing.