The Arctic Grayling is a unique species of fish that is most commonly found in Arctic and Pacific drainages throughout the world.
Commonly fished for sport, these aquatic creatures were introduced to new bodies of freshwater in the early 20th century for various purposes.
Arctic Graylings are great to fish for, observe, and even eat.
While it is true that they can be found almost anywhere in the United States to date, how did they get there?
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about Arctic Grayling introductions.
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Table of Contents
- When Were Arctic Grayling Introduced?
- When Arctic Grayling Were Introduced? (By State) List
- Arctic Grayling Native Range – Where Did They Come From?
- Where do Introduced Arctic Grayling Still Exist?
- Do People Fish for Arctic Grayling?
- What was the Largest Arctic Grayling Ever Caught?
- Can You Eat Arctic Grayling?
When Were Arctic Grayling Introduced?
The Arctic Grayling fish was first introduced in the United States in the early 1940s. They were taken from their native habitats and distributed among various water bodies in the United States for the purpose of fishing for sport.
Arctic Grayling were first introduced due to the fact that they were becoming extinct in certain areas, especially in the Northern fishing regions.
Fishermen were catching too many of them, and therefore removing them from their habitats.
This caused the species to become almost endangered, which was concerning due to the fact that they only existed naturally in select places.
If the population completely died out in these areas, the fish would not exist anywhere else.
In order to fix these problems, the fishing regulations allowed for importation of this species of fish into new areas. This allowed the species to flourish in suitable environments and spread out into other bodies of water.
The introductions were successful, and significantly boosted the population of Arctic Grayling throughout the United States that was not previously there. As a result, Arctic Graylings can be found almost anywhere throughout the country.
Arctic Grayling, First Introduction (USA):
- State – Arizona
- Year – 1943
Other Early Introductions (USA):
More specifically, the first introduction of Arctic Grayling occurred in 1943 in the state of Arizona.
Shortly after, they were relocated to more states throughout the country. Arizona was followed by Connecticut and Nebraska not too long after, with many more states behind them.
While most of these fish were taken from their natural habitats in Alaska, Montana, and Michigan to be spread out into other states, they were also introduced into other bodies of water within the same states in which they came from.
The next section will outline in detail where Arctic Grayling were introduced in the United States, as well as the date range in which they were relocated into these areas.
When Arctic Grayling Were Introduced? (By State) List
Arctic Grayling have been introduced to various water bodies throughout the United States over the past several years.
So, where were they first implemented and where do they exist now?
Take a look at the list below to find out when Arctic Grayling were introduced by state, or keep reading for more details.
Where Arctic Grayling Were Introduced (USA):
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- New York
- South Dakota
When Arctic Grayling Were Introduced By State (USA):
- New Mexico
- South Dakota
- New Hampshire
- New York
Arctic Grayling Native Range – Where Did They Come From?
As mentioned in the previous sections, Arctic Grayling fish have been introduced to several areas throughout the United States.
So, where did they originally come from?
There are a few places where Arctic Grayling were taken from in order to perform these introductions throughout the states, known as their native range.
Arctic Grayling Native Range (USA):
- Alaska (Arctic drainages)
- Montana (Upper Missouri River Drainage, Big Hole River)
- Michigan (Great Lakes Basin)
Current Natural Native Population of Arctic Grayling (USA):
- Big Hole River, Montana
In other words, Arctic Grayling were extracted from various water bodies in the states of Alaska, Montana, and Michigan before they were distributed across the United States.
Within these three states, they were only found in very selective bodies of water. In Alaska, this included the Arctic drainages that stretched over to Canada and British Columbia.
In Michigan, the native Arctic Grayling were located in the Great Lakes Basin.
Montana, on the other hand, was home to a Grayling population specifically in the upper portion of the Missouri River Drainage. Additionally, these fish were introduced for the Big Hole River in the state of Montana.
However, the only natural native population of Arctic Grayling in the United States is located in Montana.
More specifically, they live in the Big Hole River. Although the native range of Arctic Grayling in the country covers a wider area, these populations no longer exist naturally.
In fact, every population of Arctic Grayling in the United States has been introduced to the water body that they are located within, except for those that reside in the Big Hole River in Montana.
Aside from these places within the United States, Arctic Grayling have been found in Canada, British Columbia, and Asia before they were introduced elsewhere.
Where do Introduced Arctic Grayling Still Exist?
Now that we’ve established where and when Arctic Grayling were introduced in the United States, as well as where they came from, the only question left to answer would be where they still exist.
As a result of all of the introductions that occurred in several different states, where do these relocated populations of Arctic Grayling still exist?
Most Prominent Locations of Arctic Grayling (USA):
- New Mexico
Although Arctic Graylings do still exist across the world, the above listed states are the locations in which the population is the most notable.
Additionally, these populations of Arctic Graylings were introduced to these areas several decades ago, and are still thriving.
In conclusion, Arctic Grayling have been relocated from their native ranges and distributed throughout different bodies of water in the United States.
These new habitats are suitable for the fish to continue to survive, and have left a positive impact on Arctic Grayling fishing.
Do People Fish for Arctic Grayling?
Fishing for Arctic grayling is a common activity, especially in water regions such as Alaska and Canada. Arctic grayling fishing can be done at almost any time of the year, and the activity has been reported to be relatively easy and beginner-friendly.
What was the Largest Arctic Grayling Ever Caught?
The largest Arctic Grayling ever caught weighed in at 5 pounds and 1 ounce, and measured 24 inches. This size is double the average weight for these fish and almost triple the usual length. Although some Arctic Grayling catches have been reported to come close in size and weight, this record has still not been exceeded to this day.
Can You Eat Arctic Grayling?
Although it has been reported to have a unique taste, Arctic Grayling is commonly eaten by those who fish for them. This particular type of fish must be eaten immediately after catching to preserve as much freshness as possible, and is most comparable to other types of whitefish. It can be prepared like any other fish as well.