5 Things to Do While Trout are Spawning

It’s that time of year again when our favorite trout species get on the move and head upstream to their spawning grounds to get to work producing the next generation of trout. During this time, these fish tend to forget just about everything else and purely focus on spawning, which to the uneducated angler, could look like a pretty easy fishing opportunity, but it’s imperative we leave these fish be while they spawn. So we’ve come up with a few fly fishing activities you can undertake while the fish are getting busy!

Be aware of redds (spawning nests) in your stream. They’re often easy to spot: patches of lighter gravel that looks like it has been cleaned. Photo credit: The Orvis Company.

Go Observe

The spawn can be an incredible sight to behold. Watching these fish from the bank as they build redds (read: nests), chase off rivals and vie for the attention of the highly-coveted females who are loaded with eggs. As we said above, during the spawn, trout move into shallow areas of gravel to make their redds, and this can be an amazing opportunity to get eyes on many of the fish that stay hidden throughout the year. During the spawn in my area, I like to go take a look at the actively spawning fish (from the bank) and pick out the large fish that I will endeavor to find in the coming season, once they spread back out post-spawn.

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Tie Flies

Pretty much anytime the fish aren’t biting, the rivers are closed or while trout are spawning, you can find us hunched over our vises, replacing lost flies from previous fishing trips. Fly tying is a phenomenal way to stay connected to fly fishing even when conditions keep you off the water, and its a great way to tune certain patterns to maximize their fishiness on your local waters. So during these next few weeks while our fishy friends are spawning, sit down, watch a few tying videos, and start whipping up those bugs!

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Chase a New Species

While the trout are getting busy, countless other species are on the feed getting ready for the change in seasons. During the Fall, while brown trout and brook trout are spawning, smallmouth and carp fishing can be off the charts as those fish fatten up for winter. If you want to read more about targeting these fish, check out our piece on carp fly fishing and how to target big smallies this Fall!

Scout New Waters

Photo by Mark Rauschenberger for Yakoda Supply

The break from fishing will also give you some time to poke around those blue lines you’ve been meaning to check out. Put in the leg work and you will be surprised at what you’ll find. Bring a rod along just in case you find fish that haven’t started spawning but use the time to read the water and decide if that stream is worth returning to in a few weeks.

Volunteer with a Conservation Organization

Take some time this Fall to get engaged with your local fish conservation group, many Trout Unlimited Chapters have programs surrounding protecting spawning fish, and often do service projects to improve spawning conditions around this time of the year! It’s a great way to meet other passionate fishy folks and garner some good fishing karma while doing it.

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