Whilst it may be unseasonably warm, the effects of Autumn are certainly upon us and we are being treated to a display of colour which is worthy of note. This is quite possibly my favourite time of year; but it is the first few frosts that really get the grayling fishign under way. At least we have had a little bit of rain which has brought the river's levels up - albeit still way off where they should be.
Once the cold weather is with us, the grayling tend to shoal together and locating them with heavy bugs can be highly effective. However, fish are willing to rise even in the coldest of weather and looking through my notes I can see many occasions when I have found rising grayling right into the depths of winter. Indeed the dry fly is a very realistic option.
At times, I have also found spiders to be very effective. Fished just under the surface or deeper with a sacrificial nymph, they can really be of interest to the grayling. Here are a couple of of generic spiders that I use for the 'ladies of the stream'. Working well in both coloured water and gin clear rivers following heavy frosts, they are certainly more than just a last-chance approach. Perhaps not for the purist, but I urge you to give them a go:
The Hook is a Partirdge Classic spider in #14 and #16. The thread is Roman Moser Powersilk in hot pink.