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Flies for Alaska Questions about flies required or used in Alaska.

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Old 06-06-2016, 08:05 PM
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Default Grayling flies?

I'm headed to Denali and points north and east for a two week tour of south-central AK. Not a dedicated fishing trip, but I will pack a rod to fish for grayling and trout when I get a chance. Suggestions for grayling flies? I hear they aren't real picky, but certainly some are better than others! Thanks!

Mark
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Old 06-07-2016, 10:52 AM
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Default Re: Grayling flies?

Hi markfrid,

Alaska is a wonderful place to visit or live.

There is great Grayling fishing in Alaska and worth your effort. Not the best fish to eat but OK if you eat them while fresh. We use to carry a frying pan, oil and flower in the canoe when we fished for Grayling. Made a great river side lunch. I lived in the interior and Grayling was the predominant fish.

The best flies depends on your objective. Many people fish Grayling with dry flies. I started dry fly fishing for Grayling but never consistently caught big fish. I later switched to wet fly fishing and had great success with big flies.

Dry Flies: Black Gnat, Griffith's Gnat, Irresistible.

My favorite was the Irresistible with the Griffith's Gnat a close second. Size 12, 14.

I tried a lot of wet flies and eventually stopped dry fly fishing for Grayling as the wet flies were so successful. My best fly for most fish was a small wooly worm that I tied my self. This was a really successful fly. I used gray Chenille as the body, black thread head and a red wool butt with a natural grizzly hackle palmered over the body. Size 12/14. I did tie a few strands of Peacock Herl pulled over the back. The dark herl back contrasted with the gray body. I almost forgot the most important item. I wrapped the hook with lead wire and glued it before wrapping the body.

My other Grayling killer was a Burlap Fly tied as a streamer. It had the burlap body that I picked out a lot after the fly was completed. Gave good definition to the body. Grizzly wing and tail. I don't remember what size hook but it may have been a size 10 or 8 long shank streamer hook. It was a big bite for Grayling but caught big Grayling. Also wrapped the hook with lead wire.

The secret to wet fly fishing for Grayling is movement. I used a wet tip fly line and I think the tip was about 10' long. Grayling like pools with moving water into the pool. they sit at the edges of the moving water waiting for food to be washed down to them. Even in big rivers I looked for moving/calm water. The trick was to let the fly sink and then do a tip lift that pulled the fly up a few inches and then settle back down. Normally the fish is watching that fly and when it rises they can't stand it. The bite almost always came on the tip lift. I never had good luck with wet fly fishing for Grayling with a dead drift. They wanted that movement.

Frank
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Old 06-07-2016, 01:55 PM
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Default Re: Grayling flies?

Much of what I have read points to Grayling are fond of pink.

https://www.google.com/search?q=gray...w=1394&bih=907
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Old 06-07-2016, 02:17 PM
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Default Re: Grayling flies?

Yes, this is what I found also when I lived in Fairbanks, they do like pink for some reason. I also like the patterns Frank pointed out above, but I would tie a version of the Griffith's Gnat using micro pink chenille as the body, rather then being black. Grayling loved that fly.
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Old 07-17-2016, 03:57 PM
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Default Re: Grayling flies?

Here is a similar Burlap fly I used for Grayling. This isn't a streamer hook but I wanted to show the coloring and burlap body that has been picked out. I caught more big Grayling on this than any other fly.

Frank

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Old 07-17-2016, 04:08 PM
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Default Re: Grayling flies?

I believe that Frank,

I would have no qualms with tying that on anywhere for the Sailfish. Of course because I have a thing for fancy stuff I use a Jock O' Dee tied on a Bartleet number 4-6 or 8. I fish seams where calm water or back eddies meet current and let the fly swing through.

Here's the result of a good swing........

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Old 07-17-2016, 06:51 PM
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Default Re: Grayling flies?

I've also had success with grayling by "skating" an elk hair caddis. A fun way to catch them. The Denali Highway, which is actually gravel, is a fun road to fish up there for grayling.
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Old 08-07-2016, 11:36 AM
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Default Re: Grayling flies?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 100954 View Post
I've also had success with grayling by "skating" an elk hair caddis. A fun way to catch them. The Denali Highway, which is actually gravel, is a fun road to fish up there for grayling.
Hi 100954,

Oh boy, what memories your comments bring to me. I lived in Fairbanks for many years and my wife and I fished the lower Tangle Lakes a lot. We were at the Tangles or on the Delta Clearwater almost every weekend during the summer. I discovered the moving fly for Grayling fishing the lower Tangles with an Elk Hair Caddis dragging over my shoulder. We had been fishing all day and I was tired so I was walking back to my wife with the rod over my shoulder and the line/fly dragging behind me. I was crossing a shallow riffle and a Grayling jumped that fly. It was small but I was intrigued that it took the fly skating across the riffle. I released the fish and started my walk again with the fly behind me and another fish took the fly. From that day forward I always fish for Grayling with the fly skating or moving in some form. The next trip I tried the tip lift for a sunken fly and it also worked like a charm.

Frank
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Old 08-07-2016, 12:23 PM
 
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Default Re: Grayling flies?

In several articles, Hans Van Klinken has stated that the Klinkhammer was specifically designed to catch grayling. Read in the articles below fishing to grayling on the surface led Hans to design Klinkhammer.

As Hans notes, dry flies that float ON the surface tend to get pushed out of the way by the graying because of the way the Grayling mouth is formed. So if you want to fish dries to grayling, use a parachute type of emerger.

HANS VAN KLINKEN ON HIS KLINKHAMER SPECIAL - TomSutcliffe - The Spirit of Fly Fishing

"Around the same time I discovered that flies that floated in the surface produced much more fish than patterns that were drifting on the surface. I also made another discovery and that probably was one of my biggest in my fly fishing so far. It was the Lady of the Stream, the grayling that brought it to my attention.

At that time I still used shoulder hackle flies a lot and I tied many with a nice strong tail and solid hackle. I like the way they floated high on the surface and I could see the flies very well. I loved to see how the grayling came up for them but then on that certain day when I presented my fly not far out I saw how the fly was pushed aside quite often by an aggressively taking grayling. I gave it a closer look and I saw how they frequently push it up and sideward.

Today I know a lot more about the grayling. Most of the time she will feed on the bottom and she is built for it. For me this is the reason why I missed so many fish with shoulder hackle flies. Grayling can come up at very high speeds to take flies from the surface film, but because of her protruding upper lips, she is actually is a perfect bottom feeder.

Those lips are ideal to pick up snails and larva from the bottom. Still the grayling found a beautiful way to rise to floating and emerging insects. Sometimes they even jump out of the water and take their prey from above. I have seen it hundreds of times. Concerning dry fly fishing I believe that it is a combination of the shape of her mouth, the speed of rise and way of taking the fly, which is responsible for pushing away high floating surface flies at the moment of taking. This problem reduces enormously with parachute flies and even more with deep surface hanging emergers. I proved my theory right many times after the invention of the Klinkhåmer Special. The iceberg shape solved the problem and eight out of ten fish are always hooked well in their upper lip. I also hardly miss any takes as well and catching 10 out of 10 happens most of the time.



THE (ARISING OF THE) KLINKHAMER SPECIAL, by Hans van Klinken


1984 proved to be a very special year for me, mainly due to an excellent season with my grayling bugs and the creation of one of the best parachute pattern I have ever designed.

After my first season with the L.T. Caddis I was totally convinced that deep surface hanging parachute fly in combination with the strongly curved hook prevent indeed less hooking failures than any other fly design. The hooking power with the crooked hook was just incredible but more important was that small fish didn't come up for this huge pattern. I also conclude that most fish was caught in their upperlip, which surely resulted in fewer loosing fish during the playing.

Although I designed the fly for grayling, ..... I started to use this pattern extensively for trout since 1986.
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