Best flies and tactics for Grayling

By David Southall

     In my November 2016 Blog I gave details of some of my favourite grayling flies (Orange & Pink Gamarus, Orange & Pink Utah Killer Bugs, Red & Pink Squirmy Worms, Bead-head Partridge & Hare’s Ear Spiders & Small Bead-head Nymphs). Here are some more that I have had great success with during the Autumn, Winter & Early Spring.

Bill Eadie’s Grayling Slayer

Hook: Jig size 16 to 10

Thread: Tan 8/0 or 6/0

Bead-head: Copper tungsten 2mm to 5mm

Body: Dubbed squirrel guard hairs (use very sticky wax to hold the hairs onto the thread)

Rib: Pear mylar

Collar: Orange Ice Dub or similar

This pattern was first shown to me several years ago by Bill Eadie who catches large numbers of huge grayling from his local Scottish rivers on this fly. It has proved to be equally successful for me on a number of rivers.


Hook: Size 22 Daiichi 1200 Grub

Thread: Red 8/0

Bead-head: Red 1.5 or 2mm tungsten

Tail: Red or pink number 6 pole elastic or flexifloss

Body: Red holographic tinsel

Rib: red or pink 0.14mm diameter wire

This is a modified version of a fly shown to me by Grayling Society member Brian Clarke. It is particularly effective below sewage outfalls where there are large numbers of red Chironomid Midge larve in the bottom sediments.

Minimalistic Micro-Midge

Hook: Gamakatsu C12-BM size 26 to 30

Thread: 8/0 Tan well waxed

Wing & legs: A single CdC feather tip

This incredibly simple dry fly has proved to be devastatingly effective when grayling have been taking Aphids during Autumn leaf-fall & during the Winter when they have been taking tiny adult Midges.

Peeping Caddis

Peeping Caddis

Hook: Long-shank size 16 to 10

Thread: Tan 6/0

Weight: Split shot sizes number 10 to Swan on a loop of nylon monofilament

Body: Dubbed Hare’s mask in a split thread loop

Hackle: Brown partridge

Head: Yellow or green synthetic wool singed/burned at the tip

I have had many grayling, including fish close to 3lb on this Oliver Edwards’ pattern which was I believe based on Hans Van Klinken’s Leadhead fly

Catgut Caddis Pupa/Larva

Catgut Caddis Pupa/Larva

Catgut Caddis Pupa/Larva





Hook: Grub size 16 to 12

Thread: Tan 8/0

Head: Black or gold tungsten bead, 2mm to 3.5mm

Body: Yellow or green catgut (soak the gut before tying to soften)

Legs: Dubbed squirrel guard hairs (use very sticky wax to keep the hair on the thread)

Caddis larvae & pupae are a significant component of graylings’ diets & most have yellow or green bodies. The catgut goes soft & transparent when soaked, making it very realistic.

    All of these flies have produced a good number of grayling for me. It is well worth sampling the invertebrates in your river in order to discover which of the more imitative patterns might be most appropriate on your water.