Insects and other foods the trout
should be eating:
1. Slate Drakes
2. Little Yellow Stoneflies
3. Needle Stoneflies
4. Mahogany Duns
5. Little Yellow Quills
6. Great Autumn Brown Sedges
7. Blue-winged Olives
Most available - Other types of food:
8. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
Spawning Brown Trout
Brown trout are much like salmon in that they will travel upstream long distances to
spawn. It's thought by some 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.
One thing is for certain. 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
the brown trout make.
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
temperature 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 peanut but will take whatever they can get as far as
the size of the gravel is concerned. The female 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. 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. 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. 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. I have both read and heard anglers
contend that they only fish for the males during the actual spawning period. This is
the biggest crock of bull X, that I have ever heard of. It's nothing more than a lousy
excuse for a angler trying to catch a large brown trying to sustain their likeness to
boost his or her ego. 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.
Damage can be done by those not fishing for the trout on their redds. If anglers step
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 is bothered to the point she
doesn't deposit all of her eggs, she can die. Be careful where you wade.
These spawning fish are usually large fish. Although it's not exactly the same case
with brown trout, to some extent they are similar to redfish that must be rather old to
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. Some local fly shops actually promote fishing for spawning trout
by in effect, promoting the idea that fishing for the males is just fine. It is sad that
some will do just about anything to try to make a buck or two.
It doesn't matter if an angler catches the female or the male, a lot of brown trout
can be destroyed from the results of fishing for spawning trout. Even though there's
often more than one male competing for the right to spawn with the female, both a
male and a female are critically important to the spawning process.
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, including those of the Smokies, 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. Any true sportsman, wouldn't want any part of it.
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
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