Grayling Trout

by Fly Fisherman

While so rare as to be almost unknown in the United States, the Grayling is such a splendid fly-fishing species that I can’t leave it out of this website. Grayling (Thymallus tricolor) are found in the headwaters of the Missouri River in Montana and in the Yellowstone. Essentially a cold water fish, they are distributed over much of the stream and lake country of Alaska and Northern Canada.
Grayling spawn in the spring and are easily propagated in hatcheries if the water supply remains cold during the incubation period. They run from nine to twelve inches in length; some have been reported as heavy as four pounds. They put up a splendid fight on a light fly rod and they take a fly freely, even more so than do trout in the same water. Many anglers consider Grayling even better eating than Brook trout —my favorite fish for the frying pan.
You can easily identify Grayling by the beautiful and extremely large, high, sail-like dorsal fin, which has spectacular orange or reddish markings on it. The mouth is very small —but is shaped like that of a trout—not sucker-like, as in the Colorado Whitefish. Many fishermen in Colorado call the Whitefish a Grayling, which it definitely is not. Other distinctive characteristics of Grayling are the large scales, compared to a trout, and the lack of teeth on the tongue.
You may never have the good fortune to fish for Grayling; but if you do, you will carry the memory of this beautiful silver-and-purple flower of a fish with you always.

Grayling Trout

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