I’ve always had a passion for Grayling and for dry fly fishing. I have been catching Grayling in the UK for 44 years and in Alaska since 1999. I have just returned back from experiencing the best Grayling fishing that I have ever had.

The Lake Clark area of Alaska, just 100 miles south west of its largest city Anchorage, is a very scenic truly wilderness location. There are no roads in or out and only about 5,000 people a year visit the area. I selected the area because my research suggested that I had a good chance of catching plenty of Arctic Grayling, including some big ones. I was not disappointed.

After a short flight from Anchorage my wife and I arrived at Port Alsworth and at our base for the next six days The General Lodge. I knew that there were Grayling in the local Tanalian River. Although we could have walked there our host kindly dropped us off near to the river and we set too to try to catch the Grayling. My wife quickly caught the first one casting from the bank and about half an hour later, wading well out into the river, I started to catch them – on size 12 black or yellow bodied humpy’s. That evening we landed ten Grayling. The largest maybe went 1lb 8oz – bigger than my previous largest Arctic Grayling but not of the size that I was hoping to catch on this trip….but then we had only just arrived!

To cut a long story short the next five days fishing in four different rivers provided me superb sport with the Grayling with many 2lb plus fish landed and the largest measured at 19” and weighed at 2lb 14oz.

19" Arctic Grayling

19″ Arctic Grayling

2lb 14oz Arctic Grayling

2lb 14oz Arctic Grayling

My wife also caught a similar sized fish. Even on a six weight rod and a 5lb tippet they were strong fighters, jumping much more than UK (European) Grayling do. Sometimes the sport was almost too easy and sometimes I had to change fly patterns a few times to ‘match the hatch’ before I felt like I was really succeeding. The most successful flies were imitative dry fly patterns like Griffiths Gnat and Black Gnat (both in size 16) but at other times ‘attractor’ patterns like a Royal Wulff or a Humpy (both in size 12) worked best. The fish were not at all spooky and would often be very easy to see directly under my rod tip in crystal clear water. A Tenkara approach would have been ideal for hooking the fish but I think landing them in the often fast flows might have been a challenge.

Playing an Alaska Grayling

Playing an Alaska Grayling

The Lake Clark area is most famous for its huge runs of Sockeye Salmon and this summer there were record sized runs. Huge shoals of Salmon were in some pools but where they had not yet started to spawn the minds of the Grayling was still on feeding on insects. Had I been a couple of weeks later (late-August) it would have been Salmon egg imitations that I’d have needed. I did fish these in some rivers for Rainbows and caught fish up to around 4lbs plus some nice Grayling.

The General Lodge in Port Alsworth is perfectly situated for Grayling fishing the best waters in the area and its owner Peter Goodwin knows where all the best places are and can guide you to them. Although I hadn’t specifically booked it Peter wanted me to take a trip to SWIM with the fish. He normally bills this activity as ‘Swimming with Salmon’. He knew that I was a very keen Grayling fisher so I think he actually wanted me to be able to see the Grayling up close. Initially I wasn’t so keen on the idea as I had visions of getting cold and wet. But he was keen so I said yes. I needn’t have worried. Peter had all the right equipment to keep me warm and dry – a rescue dry suit, snorkel and face mask. The dry suit took a little getting into but once in it I was confident and waded out into the stream. Suddenly I had a completely new perspective on the fish.

Swimming with the Grayling

Swimming with the Grayling

The first pool I drifted over contained perhaps 200 Sockeye Salmon, 100 (mostly big) Grayling and 50 Whitefish (and no other kinds of fish that I saw). After about an hour of watching the fish and being amazed by the number of big Grayling present I just had to have a go fishing for them. You might have thought that the fish would now be a little spooky. Not at all! It was as if nothing had taken place. And later on in the day the guides jet boat did a fast turn right over one of my hotspots that I was dry fly fishing at the time. Again I thought my fish would be spooked but again they carried on rising as if nothing had happened.  I landed 40 that afternoon, including a couple of 2lb 8oz plus fish.

A normal sized Arctic Grayling

A normal sized Arctic Grayling

I have made many overseas fishing trips and rarely have they fully lived up to my expectations. This one did 100%.

So if you fancy experiencing some amazing Grayling fishing then consider this location. It was my 4th trip to Alaska and I hope to be back there again. Please don’t hesitate to contact me by phone or email if you’d like more information about the Lake Clark area Grayling or anything else to do with visiting Alaska.