• Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Grilse (Zoöl) A young salmon after its first return from the sea.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n grilse A young salmon on its first return to the river from the sea.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Grilse grils a young salmon on its first return from salt water.
    • ***


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Etymol. uncertain
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Skeat suggests a corr. of Dan. graalax, Sw. grålax, 'gray salmon,' from Dan. graa, Sw. grå, gray; and Dan., Sw., Ice. lax, Ger. lachs, a salmon. Others suggest Ir. greal sach.


In literature:

A local angler told me he had caught one of two pounds, and lost another "like a young grilse," after he had drawn it on to the bank.
"Angling Sketches" by Andrew Lang
But there was still a grilse that rose to a big March brown in the shrunken stream below Elibank.
"Letters to Dead Authors" by Andrew Lang
It had always been the prevailing belief that smolts grew rapidly into grilse, and the latter into salmon.
"Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Vol. 53, No. 331, May, 1843" by Various
But it is midsummer before the regularly migrating smolts reappear as grilse.
"Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine--Vol. 54, No. 333, July 1843" by Various
You'll be glad to have a bit of white fish after so much grilse and sea-trout.
"Prince Fortunatus" by William Black
Trout, pike, and perch fishing free; salmon and grilse fishing by arrangement.
"The Sunny Side of Ireland" by John O'Mahony and R. Lloyd Praeger
The fry become parr, which go to the sea as smolts, and return as grilse.
"The Outline of Science, Vol. 1 (of 4)" by J. Arthur Thomson
Even after this mishap "Sarcelle" killed his grilse and lent me his rod to try for another.
"Lines in Pleasant Places" by William Senior
They are very fine eating, and cut red as a grilse.
"Scotch Loch-Fishing" by AKA Black Palmer, William Senior
The grilse rose sharply at the lure, but I "struck" too late.
"Creatures of the Night" by Alfred W. Rees
But our grilse kept right on, making unerringly for his mighty native stream.
"The Haunters of the Silences" by Charles G. D. Roberts
The same fall they return as "grilse," weighing from three to five pounds.
"Alaska" by Ella Higginson
Ribbed with gold twist, it makes a famous grilse fly.
"Blacker's Art of Fly Making, &c." by William Blacker

In poetry:

Geology and botany
A hundred wonders shall diskiver,
We'll flog and troll in strid and hole,
And skim the cream of lake and river,
Blow Snowdon! give me Ireland for my pennies,
Hurrah! for salmon, grilse, and—Dennis, Dennis, Dennis!
"Fishing Song: To J.A. Froude and Tom Hughes" by Charles Kingsley