Fishing For Spawning Brown Trout
Brown trout are much like salmon in that they will travel upstream long distances
to spawn. It's thought that many of these trout will actually return to the same
location that they used in previous years to spawn. I understand some testing
that was done in North Georgia showed this to be a fact in the Southeast United
States.

To begin with, the trout need to be in excellent shape to begin the spawning
process. It takes a lot of energy to make the long distance moves some of he
brown trout makes. They need to be in prime condition prior to the spawn.

Ideally there are several factors that the trout take into account when spawning,
or maybe I should say, that Mother Nature takes into consideration. One is the
water temperatures but others are water depth, current, light penetration, type of
bottom and probably many other things that we may not even be aware of. In
most situations, depending on the type of stream, the water depth can vary for
sure. After the trout have made their trips upstream, all these things affect the
exact time and place the spawning process takes place.  

The female brown trout builds her redd using her tail to move the gravel around.
Some call this a nest. Bass anglers call it a bed. She selects small gravel areas.
They prefer gravel about the size of a single peanut but will take whatever they
can get as far as the size of the gravel is concerned. She cuts a trench or area of
bottom where she will deposit her eggs in the redd. At the right time, she will
deposit her eggs in the gravel. Prior to her covering them up and usually during
the same time period, the male will deposit his milt or sperm on the eggs. She will
then proceed to cover the eggs up with gravel. This process helps by improving
the flow of water through the eggs by cleaning the sand and dirt from the gravel.
It is my understanding that this is critical in whether or not the eggs make it.

This process may not all occur at once. She may move to another area of the
redd and repeat this procedure along with the male. It is my understanding they
deposit as little as a thousand eggs (not over two or three thousand), much less
than I would have thought. Obviously, many of these eggs never make it.

This entire procedure from the beginning to its end puts the fish in a stressful
situation. It takes a lot of energy. It is also my understanding, that the adult fish
experience their largest morality rate during the spawning process. The eggs
themselves can be destroyed by insects, fungus, and silt, to name a few things.
Anglers are another culprit that can destroy the eggs as well as the entire  
process of spawning.

During the spawning process the fish are very aggressive and territorial. This is
especially true of the male. During the time the fish are building their nest,
depositing their eggs and sperm, etc., anglers catching either the male of the
female, can destroy many brown trout. Even if the angler doesn't catch the fish,  
he or she poses a threat to the process by adding additional stress to the fish. If
he or she steps in the nest either before or after the eggs have been deposited,
many or even most all of the eggs can be destroyed.  If the female doesn't
deposit all of her eggs, she can die. These spawning fish are usually large fish.
Although it's not exactly the same case with brown trout, they remind me of
redfish that must be older to  successfully spawn.

The angler can easily catch these spawning fish, smile and show others how
great they are at catching big fish and many will never know what actually
occurred.  It doesn't matter if they catch the female or the male, a lot of brown
trout can be destroyed from the results. Both are critically important to the
spawning process.

Keep in mind that the brown trout are not native fish in the United States. They
were stocked in this country at one time many years ago. In some cases, the
fishery managers will tell you that fishing for spawning trout has little overall
effect on depleting the population of brown trout and I am sure that is correct. It
is not against the rules and regulations to catch the spawning brown trout in
many streams but in others, it is illegal and the season is closed during the
spawning time. If it is legal to fish during the brown trout spawn, doing so is a
decision that you must make on your own. If you can take pride in catching an
over aggressive, easily caught trout (male or female) that will stay in one area of
the stream trying its best to play its part in reproducing its like, then go ahead
and catch them from their redds. I think any true sportsman, wouldn't want any
part of it.
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
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