I must note that you are in for a 100% fiasco if, at the height of summer, you intend to offer grayling from small taiga rivers, for example, baits popular in spring and autumn, such as an earthworm or a fat bark beetle larva. The fattened grayling at this time switches exclusively to feeding on grasshoppers, horseflies, flies, mosquitoes, midges, ants, etc. Sometimes an autopsy of a caught grayling shows that its stomach is completely full of the smallest insects. Therefore, the finer and more natural the bait, the greater the chances. For example, I had cases when a kilogram grayling, ignoring an appetizing grasshopper, like acrobats, threw themselves out of the water after a live moth, neatly hooked up by the abdomen, and hung on the hook.
If you fish with a jig, it should be borne in mind that its size should be as small as possible, and the color should be combined with the color of the bait – a small grasshopper, a dragonfly tail, a caterpillar, etc. From artificial baits for this period, I could recommend some dry and wet flies. For example, Brown Ant, Black Ant and Red Ant, respectively imitating brown, black and red ants, as well as Black Gnat (black mosquito), Gray Palmer (gray caterpillar), Adams and similar models. The bite of the grayling is peculiar. Sometimes you just wonder how he manages to spit out a suspicious bait in a split second or get rid of the hook, being already hooked.
Where grayling leads a secretive way of life, and these are, as a rule, small rivers, presenting a nozzle or a fly should be taken very seriously. The slightest carelessness – and he hides for a long time in his shelter. With excellent eyesight, the grayling slowly rises to the floating bait and, if it does not arouse suspicion, grabs it resolutely. Unlike most carp fish, he never tries the bait. On a fast course, grayling has less time to “think over” the sacramental question: to take or not to take? Therefore, taking the bait and making a sharp throw to the side, it usually self-strikes. If you fish in a loosening, and even from a bank overgrown with water lilies or tall grass, the bite is determined by a splash or by the displacement of the line to the side – in the case when the bait is floating in the water column.
Disguise is required
The vulnerability of the “brook” grayling is that it gives itself out with characteristic splashes when hunting for insects. If midges hover low over the river, the grayling jumps out of the water after it. But sometimes he picks up an insect carried away by the current noiselessly – only light circles diverge to the sides. On the other hand, it is a very sensitive fish and an excellent “conspirator”. Sharp vision, sense of smell, hearing and a well-developed lateral line allow the grayling to instantly react to the slightest change in the environment. It is enough for a shadow to fall on the water from the angler or even from the tip of the rod, as he instantly disappears into the shelter, from where, as a rule, no seductive bait can lure him out. Therefore, there should be nothing bright or colorful in the clothes of the angler. It is desirable that it be in harmony with the surrounding vegetation or rocky shores in color. In other words, you should behave in such a catch as when hunting with a stealth. On a clear day, always approach the proposed grayling site with extreme caution so that the grayling does not “track” you on the shore, the landscape of which is well known to him.
Where to look?
Unlike large rivers, where grayling tries to stay away from the shore, on small rivers it usually does not follow this rule. It can stand at the very shore, below the rapids and rapids, but it always clings to the main stream, which carries food to it. It is very important for this fish to have reliable shelters nearby. These can be underwater moors under the shore, bushes hanging over the water, underwater vegetation, or “purges” among the rubble. At the same time, the grayling chooses places where there is at least a small “mirror” of open water, since during feeding, he, walking in the bottom layers or half-way, carefully observes the surface. Thus, any insect that swims or has just unsuccessfully splashed down does not go unnoticed. Another thing is that it may simply not be to the taste of a summer gourmet grayling.
On clear, windless days, grayling is usually most active in the early morning hours and in the evening twilight. The angler, of course, should take this into account when looking for promising spots. Fishing in small rivers ends, as a rule, in the second half of August, after the onset of the first cold matinees, when this fish begins to slide downstream, to deeper areas. So, we examined the main technical and tactical aspects of catching grayling, which lives in small taiga rivers. For anglers who want to know all the delights of this amazing safari, I can say the following. It is allowed to catch grayling in the Baikal basin in any river (and there are more than three hundred of them here), except for those that flow through the territory of the Barguzinsky reserve. These are the rivers Bolshaya, Sosnovka, Tarkulik, Kudaldy, Davshe, Ezovka, Shumilikha and some others.
author V.A. Kazantsev
Open Water Fishing (Complete Fishing Guide)