How Big is The Largest Arctic Grayling Ever Caught?

Written by Dane in Fishing
Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons

This cold weather inhabitant is a husky swimmer. Caught in the Northwest Alaskan territory, this handsome arctic grayling doesn't even get the credit he deserves!

The Largest Arctic Grayling: Sources on the internet claim that the biggest caught Arctic grayling was found in Alaska, setting a record at 26 inches long and weighed 5 pounds, 1 ounce.

Depending on the area of the United States and Canada, Arctic graylings can vary vastly in size and weight. So, where should you go looking if you're fishing for a big score?

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The Largest Arctic Grayling

The Biggest Arctic Grayling That Has Ever Been Caught:

  • Weight = 5 pounds 1 ounce
  • Length = 24 inches
  • Location = Alaska (Fish River)

Many Arctic Graylings have the potential to grow to massive sizes that are above the average for the full grown adult fish. In fact, it is not uncommon for those who fish for them to come across a Grayling that is larger than what they expected.

With that being said, what was the actual biggest Arctic Grayling that has ever been caught? Of course, we cannot assume that these statistics are completely accurate, due to the fact that some extremely large catches might not be reported.

To date, the largest reported catch of an Arctic Grayling took place in the waters of Alaska. The lucky fisherman reeled in a giant Grayling that had a record weight of 5 pounds 1 ounce, and a shocking length of 24 inches.

The length of this fish was double the average, and the weight nearly tripled these statistics.

Other Reports of Large Arctic Graylings

Other Reports:

  • 3 pounds, 10 ounces (Paxson Lake, Alaska)
  • 2 pounds, 10 ounces (Paxson Lake, Alaska)

Along with the 5 pound Grayling that was reported in Alaska, there have been additional reports of Arctic Grayling catches weighing just a few pounds less than the current record, but it has yet to be broken officially at this point.

The most notable accounts of huge Grayling catches have averaged about 2 to 3 pounds. Instead of the Fish Lake in Alaska, this fisherman chose to throw his line into the Paxson Lake and try his luck.

The first catch weighed in at 3 pounds and 10 ounces, while the second came in at just one pound lower, equaling up to 2 pounds and 10 ounces.

These reports are living proof that other fishermen have gotten close to beating the record, but the biggest Arctic Grayling that was caught in the world so far is just over 5 pounds.

Where to Find The Biggest Arctic Graylings

How To Find a Record-Breaking Arctic Grayling:

  • Fish during mating season
  • Travel upstream to catch your line (the biggest fish will be there)

While preparing to catch a record-breaking Arctic Grayling, it is important to know the correct techniques as well as the best places to look.

It's no secret that the American Arctic is a well-traveled destination for those looking to catch a trademark fish. With the sleek colorization of the blue and purple scales down to the prominent dorsal, the Arctic grayling is a worthy catch to check off of your list.

When it comes to angle fishing, the graylings are surprisingly easy to bait and catch, making it an excellent fish for beginners to throw a line at. Despite entry-level fishing, the notoriety of the Arctic grayling still pulls on the seasoned fisherman like a magnetic current.

You'll have your best luck during mating season, as the females come out of their hiding places and meet males in the more docile areas of current.

Arctic graylings are in the survival of the fittest mentality. As you travel upstream, you'll find that larger and stronger fish are dominating the territory at the head of the pool. This domain, of course, has first dibs at food, so your biggest catches will, therefore, be upstream.

The Average Size of an Arctic Grayling

Arctic Grayling Average Sizes:

  • Length = 12 inches
  • Weight = 1-2 pounds

The first three years of an Arctic grayling’s life is a real growth spurt. For the following two years, growth varies depending on when the grayling reaches sexual maturity. In interior Alaska, you'll find the average grayling size to be around 12 inches, and weigh in at about 1-2 lbs.

The overall life-long growth for graylings is significantly impacted by the geography of the creature's habitat. Water temperature, food availability, and latitude all have severe and measurable impacts on the rate and eventuality of growth for grayling.

On the north slope, Arctic graylings caught by Alaskan researchers measured up to 19 inches in length regularly. This, in theory, is due to an extended period of growth, as northern Arctic graylings take an estimated additional two years to mature.

Additionally, the Arctic grayling on Alaska's north slope tend to live twice as long as the average interior Alaskan Arctic grayling. There are a variety of theories for such the extensive length and life of Arctic grayling on the north slope.

The most supported belief is the rarity of sunshine increases the window of a grayling's initial growth spurt. That average interior grayling lifespan, if you were wondering, is seven years old.

The oldest grayling recorded was a 22-year-old senior citizen residing in Tasiqpak Lake on the north slope of Alaska, though conflicting reports are stating that Arctic graylings can live up to 36 years.

While food availability and water temperature profoundly affect growth, gender seems to have just as much of a dominating effect on the eventual physicality of an Arctic grayling.

Studies showed that male graylings have marginally faster growth rates than females when migrating to the same locations for feeding, spawning, and overwinter. The question is, is it a difference in the gender-genetics, or the territorial nature that brings the male graylings more food which accounts for this sizeable difference?

90 percent of growth in arctic graylings take place in summer. It is fascinating, as summer is so brief in the northern aquatic arena that the opportunity for growth becomes competitive among graylings. Of course, mating season plays a significant factor in the growth rate as well.

What do Arctic Graylings do to Grow?

Throughout their lives, Arctic graylings will attempt to consume anything that moves. In the day and age of increased pollution, it's not uncommon to find bits of plastic inside the organs of caught Arctic graylings. Graylings certainly favor eating native insects, like blackflies, mayflies, caddisflies, and stoneflies.

Arctic Grayling Diet:

  • Blackflies
  • Mayflies
  • Caddisflies
  • Stoneflies
  • Salmon eggs
  • Shrew, and other small fish

The insect diet essentially broadens for any insect that floats on the surface of the water like it's ready to be eaten. During the fall months, graylings will be particularly impolite and eat the recently spawned eggs of salmon.

Arctic graylings, masters of their own territory, don't hesitate at all to eat smaller fish and any bite-sized mammals that fall into the water, such as shrew. The more one grayling can catch, the larger it grows in domain and hierarchy.

You can now imagine the aggression the 30-inch headliner of this article must have had to express to become the northern grayling kingpin.

There's not as much food in the wintertime, because many things can't survive the unforgiving sub-zero temperatures in the Arctic. The reason for climate alone is why 90% of graylings growth occurs in the summer.

If we travel to grayling lower in altitude though, such as in the continental United States, graylings may have a better shot at sourcing food throughout the year. Since they're scattered through the United States via habitat introduction, it's up in the air to which populations truly luck out.

Though, the coldest underwater conditions in Idaho indeed are more favorable of a growth environment than the great northern Alaskan winters. To survive the north, graylings conserve as much energy as possible and wait out the weather as passively as possible.

Where Are the Best Places to Fish for Arctic Graylings?

Alaska and Canada are going to deliver the most authentic capturing experiences for Arctic graylings, and they by far have the largest and most Arctic graylings to offer. There are many pools of graylings throughout the continental United States.

Do I Have to Get a License to Fish for Graylings?

As long as you have a current Alaska Fishing License on you, and you know the regulations of the water you're fishing in, then you are clear to catch!

Who Do I Call If I Catch a Larger Arctic Grayling?

The International Game Fish Association are the folks to call if you catch a grayling longer than 19 inches or heavier than 5 lbs 15 oz.

About Dane
Hi, I am Dane. I am one of the regular contributors to BonfireBob. I Write about all things, that I find Interesting. I live in Texas with my wife and 5 kids, and love everything outdoors, especially activities where I can spend time with my kids.

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