February 28th, 2000

The Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
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Four Months a Year

By Jeremy Reynolds (aka Host Grayling)

Have you ever been to a place that you never wanted to leave? I have and I haven't left yet (although my wife really wants to). I live in Alaska. I have talked to many fly fishermen and when I mention I live in Alaska they immediately want to know how many salmon I catch a year and are salmon as great as they hear they are on a fly rod. Truth be told I do catch King Salmon every year and they are great fun on the fly rod but they not even my favorite species of salmon to catch and they are not even my favorite species of fish.

My favorite fish is the Arctic Grayling as many of you already know. If any of you would like to know more about these fish please keep reading.

The Arctic Grayling is a member of the Char family and it's home is cold waters. The Alaskan natives say that you can see the Aurora Borealis in their dorsal fin, which in my opinion is true. Arctic Grayling feed on insect life as any other fish would but they are a little more eager than most fish. The old Alaskan state record was held on a cigarette butt with a hook through it to show you how eager these fish are. Little is actually known about Grayling but there are more studies going on and I will try to keep you informed as I receive the study results.

I can tell you when you can start catching Grayling in my area; answer: a week after the water hits 41 degrees. At 41 degrees they go into a spawning cycle for about a week. At this point it's time to start my 'four months a year.'

I mostly fish the Chena River. It is a beautiful River, and is located in the largest state recreation area in the United States. While driving to one of the many fishing holes chances are good that you will see moose, and other wildlife; and if you don't the scenery is beautiful enough for you not to care.

When you get to the river the first thing you will notice is the crystal clear water. When you decide to get into the water you will also notice how cold it is, unless you have thick skin bring your neoprenes. Now that you're ready to fish let's check your gear. If you are experienced bring a 4 weight or smaller rod. If you are a beginner a 5 weight will bring you hours of enjoyment. One final word on gear is bring knotless leaders because Grayling will bite at knots and you will have false strikes. As for a fly I can not reveal my secret fly to a crowd this large but pretty much any dry fly or wooley bugger will do.

Being on the river daily for several years now and I have had days where I have caught a hundred fish or more. The fish are very eager, and the scenery is spectacular . . .

Remember this great fishery is only usable for four months a year, not that you would want to be here for the other eight months. Up until this year I have guided on the Chena, but that leaves me no time to fish for myself, so if you make it up here to fish look me up and I'll take you out; not as a guide but as a friend. ~ Jeremy Reynolds (aka Host Grayling)

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