Fifty shades of Gray-ling brightens up the day!

David Johnson, of Peaks Fly Fishing
David Johnson, of Peaks Fly Fishing
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David Johnson, of Peaks Fly Fishing, discusses grayling and other aspects of autumnal angling in his latest column.

Autumn days are some of the most productive and exciting for the fly angler, and for me it’s a two pronged approach with grayling in the rivers and large rainbows in the still waters.

Back in spring the resident coarse fish on my local reservoir were busy spawning.

Now, these offspring can be found as large shoals of roach and perch fry seeking shelter around the rocky shallows.

Large rainbows, seeking a more meaty mouthful have started to attack these shoals.

It can be quite a spectacle as the bow wave powers through the shallows like a nuclear submarine, chasing their prey, tiny fish leap and swerve to avoid the onslaught but the underwater explosions signal the rainbows are making the most of this occasion.

This surely has to be some of the most exciting fishing on offer.

What a contrast the grayling is to the rainbow, it’s small delicate mouth and effeminate appearance quite outshines the toothy jaws and brutish manner of the rainbow in the beauty stakes.

This elegant creature is sensitive to the environment, it’s disappearance often the first worrying signs of a drop in water quality.

The grayling is found in fast, clear rivers and streams all over the Peak District and is a wild, indigenous fish.

Catching one of these magnificent creatures in the cold, fast water is nearly as satisfying as a pint in front of the log fire afterwards!

David Johnson teaches fly fishing in and around the Peak District. Visit for more.