Some Rocky Mountain Fish Spawn in the Fall!

spawn, cutthroat trout, fish

A spawning cutthroat trout. Photo Yellowstone National Park via Flickr.

Some fish in the Rocky Mountains spawn in the fall time.  This is so weird because most animals reproduce in the springtime, but not these ones.

For most animals, fall is a time of year to prepare for winter.  That means stocking up on food, growing thicker fur coats, or simply migrating and going elsewhere.  However, for some fish the fall time stimulates their hormones and tells them it is time to spawn or reproduce.  Here is some information on which fish spawn in the fall and how they do it.

What Does It Mean To Spawn?

Spawning is what you call the way that most fish in the Rocky Mountains reproduce.  In general, females will find a suitable location for a nest or redd (a spot on the bottom of the stream that has gravel with no silt (mud or dirt), and water flowing by).  She will dig out a spot in the gravel with her tail.

Then the female releases the eggs from her body into the water.  At the same time the male fertilizes the eggs by releasing his sperm. The eggs then settle on the bottom where the female will cover them with some gravel.

How Long Does It Take Eggs To Hatch Into Baby Fish?

Depending on the kind of fish it takes 1 – 5 months for the eggs to hatch. When the baby fish are first born they are less than one inch long and are called fingerlings.  They live in the gravel for their protection.

It takes them a couple of years to grow into adults.

Which Rocky Mountain Fish Spawn in the Fall?

spawn, brown trout, fishBrown Trout – Brown trout, similar to salmon, travel upstream in rivers to spawn.

spawn, lake trout, fishLake Trout – Lake trout spawn in lake water that is typically between 6 – 10 feet deep and close to the shoreline.  Similar to fish that spawn in rivers the female lays the eggs in gravel that has water moving over them.

spawn, brook trout, fishBrook Trout – In the fall the males belly becomes a brilliant red color.

spawn, sockeye salmon, fishSockeye Salmon – They spawn in the fall in the small rivers and streams that they were born in.

You can read this for more about these and the other common fish of the Rocky Mountains.