Grayling fishing once thought to be a distant dream for anglers in Michigan, is making a remarkable comeback after nearly a century of absence. Historically, grayling could be found in the state’s streams, but they vanished due to overfishing, the introduction of non-native species, and extensive logging that disrupted their habitat. Recent restoration efforts have paved the way for anglers to target these exotic fish once again.
The revival of grayling fishing has been made possible by a ban lift on targeting grayling in Michigan. In recognition of the cohabitation of reintroduced grayling with trout, state officials decided to allow catch-and-release angling of grayling. Additionally, Michigan’s stocking program resulted in an excess of grayling, some reaching up to 15 inches in length. These surplus fish will be introduced into lakes in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, providing opportunities for anglers to target them.
If this program proves successful, grayling, once considered a distant and exotic catch, could become a local fishing option within the next five to ten years. The question now is, how do you catch these fascinating fish?
Here are some basic tips for catching grayling:
Choose the Right Size: If you’re after trout, panfish, or pickerel, a 6-inch auger is ideal for drilling through the ice. For larger species like pike or walleyes, opt for a wider hole.
Keep Your Blades Sharp: Invest in spare blades and ensure they are sharp for efficient drilling.
Dress Appropriately: Wear a thin, moisture-wicking base layer to stay comfortable and dry while drilling.
Master Proper Drilling Form: Maintain an upright posture, use ice cleats for better footing, and follow the right technique for drilling with a hand auger.
Grayling, known for their vibrant and exotic appearance, can be a thrilling catch for anglers. Their aggressive nature makes them an exciting target. While their small mouths may pose a challenge, scaling back lure and fly size is key. Grayling readily respond to aquatic insects, and you can use common wet flies, dry flies, or nymph patterns to catch them.
These fish are known to react to the presence of bugs, and their response to movement allows for diverse angling methods. Whether fly fishing or using spinners and jigs, a 4-weight fly rod or a 6-foot ultra-light spinning rod with 4-pound test line are suitable choices for landing these scrappy fighters. Grayling put up a strong fight for their size, so it’s essential not to overpower them with heavy gear.
With these tips in mind, anglers in Michigan can now look forward to the exciting opportunity of targeting grayling in their local waters.