Simple Tips for Autumn Grayling Fishing

Donnington Grove is in the extremely lucky position to offer river fly fishing all year round. In the summer months, we’re a popular destination for guests looking to catch river trout, but if you’re staying with us in the cooler autumn and winter, you can have plenty of fun on the river fishing for grayling.

Over the years, our fishing team have built up a number of tips and advice to help you get the most fun out of fly fishing for grayling between September and April. Here are 8 useful tips to help you enjoy your grayling fishing with us here at Donnington Grove.

Fishing rod

Be patient

It’s common that when you’re fishing in the cooler months, you won’t catch anything for a long time. Grayling tend to be tightly packed in small areas and it can sometimes take a fair bit of time to find a shoal, but when you catch your first fish, the chances are you’ll soon be catching many more.

However, there are times when the grayling are simply not feeding and they may not take even if you’re in a well-known grayling hotspot. In these circumstances, we urge you to have patience because they will undoubtedly start taking at some point.


Know how to play grayling

Grayling have soft mouths, so playing them too hard will just pull the hook out of their mouths. It can be very difficult to catch a big grayling in a big, fast river because, despite what some will tell you, grayling can put up a great fight. The best thing you can do is give the grayling line, following it wherever you can and taking your time with the catch.

Fishing man

Try to prevent drag and micro-drag

January and February are brilliant times to try out your dries flies, but remember that grayling are far more discerning than trout so just dragging your fly won’t land you a catch.

Fishing line

Strike everything if you’re nymphing

When you’re nymphing, you’re far more likely to catch a grayling if you strike everything. You may hold off thinking you’ve just hit and snagged the bottom of the river, but there’s no way you can know for sure. Grayling closing its mouth on a nymph feels the same to it snagging on the river bed, and whilst a catch may be signalled by additional movement, there are plenty of times when it doesn’t.


Try out a worm

A worm imitation is used by many grayling fly fishers with great success, and there’s a great variety you can now choose from, so we’d recommend to experiment with the throughout the autumn. Imitation worms even seem to work well in low water.

River fishing

Get your flies to the bottom of the river

In the autumn and winter, grayling won’t be prepared to move far to feed, so you need to put your fly right in front of them at the bottom of the river. If you’re fishing in a large river, you’ll find the best way to do this is to use a large tungsten bead nymph. If you’re fishing deep enough, you will occasionally snag the bottom and you need to be prepared to lose the occasional fly.

Fishing net

Fully revive the grayling before releasing them

In the summer, grayling often take ages to fully revive and swim away from your hands, and releasing them prematurely only leads to them flipping over and the need to re-net it. In the cooler autumn and winter months, grayling will revive far more quickly but it can still take a while. In a cold river, it can be unpleasant, but it’s necessary to ensure the wellbeing of the grayling is your top priority. To save your hands the cold, let the grayling recover and revive in your net before releasing them back into the river.


Be bold and use coloured flies

Grayling almost exclusively eat ‘natural’ coloured and camouflaged food, but it’s well-known that they have a fondness for colourful flies. Many people have had success over the years with pink and red flies, although purple flies and flies with UV materials are being used with great results.

For more information about grayling fishing at Donnington Grove, don’t hesitate to Simon Cooper at Fishing Breaks on 01264 781988 or get in touch today.