And then the next week... the brown trout spawn begins. Welcome to late fall. The time of the year when the browns take to the gravel. And when anglers make a choice to fish or put up the rod until December. For those who hunt for deer and elk, it is an easier choice. For me, the passionate fly fisher only, it is a time to find water with other species that might take the fly. I recently went out to a stream with hopes to beat the activity of a full blown spawn, but to no avail... They were already digging in the gravel and doing their horizontal mamba!
Brown trout reproduce in relatively specific habitats. They prefer riffles and moderately moving waters in depths of 12-24 inches. So, rather shallow. Tails of pools are also sometimes used. The female scoops out and cleans a place in the spawning bed (referred to as "cutting a redd") with her body and tail. Usually, this bed consists of pea size or slightly larger gravel. She will guard this area from other fish. The male browns will fight around the redd to aquire the spot next to the female. There can be quite a display of splashing around and jumping to and fro during this fight for the right to the princess's palace. This macho struggle can go on for quite awhile, but finally the eggs are fertilized and the next generation begins... Another layer of gravel is placed on top by the female. And in about 60 days, the small fry will swim up out of the redds and start their swim... So as they say in the fishing reports that you look at... "Please avoid the redds and spawning beds". There is a good reason. It is best for the future of our rivers in the long run. But, in the end, it is up to each individual whether to fish or not to fish during this time. As a friend and I watched this redd activity from behind the brush the other day, it was only an hour or two later that an angler came along and fished straight into the riffled waters of spawning brown trout. Maybe not educated on the process of reproduction of that species or maybe diliberate. Don't know. We just bit our tongues and walked away. Here is a short video on what to look for during a spawn. We walked aways down from gravel staging areas and found a few deeper spots of non-spawners. (Juveniles for the most part) We fished nymphs and smaller bugs and they were responsive in the slower water. So, the day ended up being rather productive for us, even though the graveled areas were otherwise occupied by dancing browns!
Showing respect to those brown trout spawners, I put in a little bit of time at a lake full of beautiful Colorado Cutthroat. (In Utah) There is always more water to search out. Think outside the box and you just might find that little piece of heaven that you didn't know existed! And then you will have a new "secret" place to fish later...
You never know... You just might find the unusual...
THE ELUSIVE CUT-BROWN???
Just a cutthroat with a brown trout soul patch... = )