Grayling fishing has been a great part of my life for many years. Since 2007 I have been spending every summer without any exceptions near grayling waters. The most epic place I have ever experienced is Tjuonajokk and this is where the idea for this blog post emerged.
Many ask me about what is the best time to catch grayling in Tjuonajokk and I use to say that it doesn’t matter what week if it is somewhere in the period July-August. The summer is short and the fish need to feed. Of course, some periods can be truly amazing with fish in every cast and some just good where you must work a little bit more for the fish and that is mostly depending on the weather. When the weather is great on a trip where I go out with my guide colleagues, we use to do as a challenge that you are only sitting down. Then you can just decide for a rock in the river or at the shoreline. Simply enjoy the opportunity to relax and don’t have to worry about being the best you can be and then from there trying to catch the numbers of fish you can see rising and you can reach from there sitting down. As you here Tjuonajokk is not a normal place because this is something you can't do on many other places I know.
What the river have in common with many other rivers out there is a distinct deep channel where most of the water is passing through the rapids. Like you can imagine there is plenty of Grayling in this channel and more of them are forced to be there the more the water goes down. The highest water is at the beginning of the summer if there won’t come plenty of rain sometime during the season. It is not common but I have experienced years when we leave Tjuonajokk at a higher water level in the end of August than there was when we came in 1st of July.
I don’t know how the water level will be in this nonregulated wild environment but something I have learned as a guide is that people expect me to have clear answers on the things they ask me and I try each and every time to give it to you even though it is never easy. So to give a clear answer on when the best time will be is an impossible task. Some years there is a great caddis hatch on the 25th of August which makes it the best day of the year and some years it is on the 23rd and some years it is a lot of bibios for a few days in July which proves to be the best day of the year… You just don’t know. Here is my guideline on how the grayling fishing in Tjuonajokk usually is during a season.
Defining different waters
Flood (Usually May 1st – June 20th) Grayling are most likely pre spawned and spawning in the end of this period. If finding fish that are finished with spawning it is the easiest to catch them with a nymph.
High water (usually June 20th – July 1st) The fish is usually finished with spawning at this point and are starting to get back in shape. You can start to expect the graylings to maybe a little bit thinner than normal in some places in the river. This depends on how late they have spawned and the amount of food they have found during the time after spawning. The fishing isn't at its best yet but you can expect them to be rising some. Side channels can have the best fishing because they are so spread out in the main stream.
Above normal (Usually July 1st – July 20th) This is when we actually open and guests can experience good fishing right away if the weather hasn't been awful. Catch them on a dry fly is definitely possible. Side streams like I described earlier still holds fish and are easy to catch. If you want to reach the deepest water you definitely need to be stable on your feet because this will require difficult wading but the thing is that it is not needed.
On the pictures above you can see how we spend most of the time fishing in this water level, near the shore. The fishing doesn’t require as deep wading as people think and you can catch fish all around you. I would say this is the best time.
THIS IS THE BEST TIME
One of the benefits of this water level is that I can use the entire river system as a guide to take you to the best places. The fishing requires more of an eye for reading the water than fishing in low water does but I have caught most of my +55 cm Grayling at this water level. The time when the water still is a little bit high has proved to give many of the most memorable and best days for me and my guests.
Normal water (Usually July 20th – August 15th) Most of the insect hatch happens now. There are caddis, ephemeras and dipteras all over. The fish can get selective on small midges especially during the morning and evening. It is easy to read the water on where to find the fish. Driving to some places in the stream is starting to be difficult now but fishing is really good. Small side streams and shallow water near the shore holds less fish now. Especially the bigger fish tend to be in the main current.
Low water (Usually August 15th – August 31st) All the fish is concentrated to the deepest water in the stream, there is packed with fish so you can fight them until you get tired. This is by far the least challenging time to fish. It is easy to find the graylings and it is easy wading all the way out to the deep channel. Some places are no longer possible to reach by boat. Like going more than 12 kilometers upstream of Tjuonajokk can be tough.
Remember this can only be used as a guideline where I try to give a general idea of how the fishing can be during a normal summer. There are not any guarantees as long as there is fishing we are talking about but still, I hope you people found this helpful and that guests that are used to come at the same time every year might be a little bit more curious to try other times of the year.
In Ammarnäs there are some other things that effect the experience you have when you come there so you cannot trust this guide completely when you plan a trip there. In the future, I might make a guide for Ammarnäs Grayling to if you let me know this is something you ask for.
Remember, if you come to Tjuonajokk and you see that the water is a bit high. Don’t worry because this can prove to give you some exceptional experiences.
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