Thymallus thymallus 

Grayling, courtesy of Jack Perks


Grayling are an impressive looking fish of the salmonid family. They have a small mouth with large scales and have a silver/grey appearance. Adult fish gain a darker tone as they mature. Their most recognisable feature is their impressive large dorsal fin which helps them negotiate strong currents and attract mates. A male fish’s dorsal fins during the breeding season will become brightly coloured with usually a reddish band across the tip. 


Having a similar diet to Chub and small Trout and Salmon, Grayling feed on freshwater invertebrates and will also eat small fish when they’re mature. 



Grayling normally swim in small shoals. They prefer colder, clean water and are very sensitive to pollution, more so than even salmon. They are found in upstream areas in rivers across Northern and Central Europe and they’re found in the upper Severn and its tributaries. Attempted introductions into southern Europe and North Africa have been largely unsuccessful. They spawn in spring in shallow redds and do migrate if lack of obstacles allows them to. 

Did you know?

Grayling are reputed to have a faint scent of herbs! Some say they smell of thyme, and that’s where they get their Latin name Thymallus thymallus 

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