Grayling are not native to Scotland. The first were introduced to the Clyde from Derbyshire in 1855, and
in subsequent years to the Annan, Ayr, Earn, Nith, Tay, Teviot and Tweed, where they thrived and spread to
some of their tributaries.
More recently some were put into certain rivers of the Forth catchment. There are no reports of them ever
being introduced north of the Tummel.
Despite being itself a salmonid, the grayling was for many years persecuted throughout the UK as it was
thought to compete unfavourably with trout and salmon. The Grayling Society was formed to overturn this
false assumption and at last the species is becoming widely valued as a sporting game fish. Though some
Scottish rivers still have abundant stocks, a few seem less well endowed than in former years. The reason
for this is unclear. Grayling tend to be prone to population fluxes, especially when abnormal Spring spates
wash away their ova, but there is a need for some research to establish what, if anything, is wrong. They
are wild fish and, unlike trout, rivers have never been subject to stocking with hatchery raised fish, so
it is good to see many anglers practising catch and release with a view to conserving stocks. Barbless
hooks are advised when fish are to be returned to the river.
How to catch
They can be caught in the summer months on dry fly, though wet fly and deep nymph tactics are more suited
as the year progresses. Float fishing comes into its own in the winter, when wee red worms, maggots and
sweetcorn are popular baits. Salmon and trout spawn during the winter so wading must be done with care so
as not to disturb their redds.