Arctic Grayling

Arctic Grayling.
Credit: Gordon Court



  • Common name: Arctic Grayling
  • Scientific name: Thymallus arcticus
  • Order: Salmoniformes
  • Sub-family: Thymallinae
  • Indigenous names for this species may be available through the Yukon Native Language Centre

Viewing opportunities

  • Arctic Grayling is found in almost every lake and stream in the Yukon.
  • Look for them in pools, eddies and below riffles in creeks and rivers.
  • In lakes, look for them at the outlet or near the mouths of streams entering the lake.


  • Oversized, sail-like dorsal fin.
  • Slender body, notably large eyes and a small, squarish mouth.
  • Dark purple-blue on the back with purplish grey sides and scattered black spots.
  • Dorsal fin can be edged in orange; pelvic fins often have orange or pinks stripes.

Fast facts

  • Length: 25 to 40 cm
  • Weight: 0.25 to 1 kg
  • Habitat: Freshwater

Conservation status

What is conservation status?

  • Yukon: S4S5 (Apparently Secure/Secure)
  • Global: G5 (Secure)

Yukon population estimate

Not determined.


Arctic Grayling are a freshwater fish that inhabits most lakes, large rivers and small streams in the Yukon. It spawns in spring, immediately after the ice melts out, in flowing water in smaller gravel or rock-bottomed tributaries.


Aquatic and terrestrial insects, molluscs, fish eggs and small fish.


Arctic Grayling distribution map.

Grayling and people

  • Grayling were an important early spring food source for many First Nations.
  • A willing biter, grayling are an ideal for kids and those learning how to fish.