Grayling Return to Michigan

November 1, 2023 By: Spencer Durrant

Photo: USFWS Mountain-Prairie/Flickr

Arctic grayling are one of my favorite fish. I’ve made trips to Alaska just to focus on catching them. They’re so eager to eat dries, and they have a happy, carefree attitude that trout don’t always posses.

They’re native to Alaska and Canada, but grayling’s native range once reached as far south as Montana and Michigan. They’re still hanging on in Montana, notably in the Big Hole River basin, but they’ve been extinct in Michigan for the best part of a century.

Now, however, they’re once again swimming in Michigan waters. You’ll still need a trip to Alaska or Canada to catch a trophy-sized one, but you can catch them from their historical native range, which is an accomplishment worth celebrating.

According to Joe Cermele over at Outdoor Life, the ongoing restoration efforts in Michigan are largely to thank for this fish being available to anglers once again. Once the fish had been reintroduced, however, officials in Michigan had to lift “a ban on targeting grayling in Michigan. State officials, recognizing that reintroduced grayling would share habitat with trout, lifted that ban in early October, which opens grayling to catch-and-release angling.”

You can read more about these new grayling fishing opportunities, as well as tips on how to catch them, here.