Brown Trout are one of the few Rocky Mountain fish that spawn in the fall. While most of us are thinking about getting ready for winter they are thinking about making babies.
Brown trout live throughout the Rocky Mountains. In the fall time fishermen love to try to catch the big brown trouts on their way upstream to spawn. For fishermen it can be an exciting time of year, and for the fish themselves it is a very important time. Here is a little bit more information about how brown trout spawn.
What Is Spawning?
In case you missed my recent post about spawning you can read about what is spawning and what fish spawn in the fall here. To summarize that post, spawning is just the name for how fish, including brown trout reproduce. It is different than other animals’ reproduction because in spawning the female eggs and male sperm cells join outside of their bodies.
To do it the female prepares a spot on the bed of the river, then she releases her eggs over it. At the same time a male fish releases his sperm. Some of the sperm reaches the eggs and fertilizes them, thus creating the beginnings of a baby trout.
Where Do Brown Trout Spawn?
Brown trout are similar to salmon in that they will travel upstream to spawn. They head for smaller streams and tributaries of the larger rivers to find a good location. They may travel very far distances or just shorter distances for this. They are looking for a stream with a gravel/pebble bottom with good water flow in order to make sure the eggs have oxygen flowing over them.
How Do Brown Trout Spawn?
A female will pick a good location and prepare the redd. While this is happening the males in the area are competing/fighting to win the chance to spawn with the female. The biggest and strongest male will win that opportunity by chasing the others away.
As I said above, after preparing the redd the female will release her eggs. At about the same time the male will release his sperm. The female may release thousands of eggs and do this at several different reads with the same or a different male.
Once spawning is complete the female will fan her tail and cover the eggs with some gravel to give them protection. Then she simply swims away. The male may stay around for a little time to protect the eggs before he also leaves.
Here is a video that shows brown trout spawning in the wild, mainly showing the female preparing the redd.
Unlike salmon, trout do not die after spawning. They are able to spawn many times during their life.