Southwest Montana Trout Series – Arctic Grayling

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Arctic Grayling is a species native to northern North America. The only populations native to the lower 48 states were in Michigan and Montana, and the Michigan population is now extinct. Consequently, the fluvial or river-dwelling population in the upper BigHoleRiver and RubyRiver are the last remnants of this native Fish of Special Concern. Originally, the fluvial Arctic grayling was widespread throughout the upper Missouri river drainage as far downstream as Great Falls. Lewis and Clark made note of these “new kind of white or silvery trout” in 1805. Grayling are gullible to the angler’s lures and also seem to be easily out-competed by other salmonid species. They are spring spawners and broadcast their eggs over a gravel bottom in moving streams.  Grayling are truly a unique Montana species. The iridescent hues of a spawning grayling’s dorsal fin are brilliant. Exceptional individuals can weigh up to 3 pounds and reach 20 inches in length. They are generalists, eating a variety of aquatic invertebrates   You will find the Grayling on the main sections of the Upper Ruby River.

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