Don't Tread on Redds – Fins and Feathers Bozeman
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Don't Tread on Redds

Spring is a great season to fly fish in Montana. The rivers around our Bozeman fly shop are very productive with the rising water temperatures and increased insect activity. It is also the time for cutthroat trout and rainbow trout to reproduce. These trout are running into small streams or finding the right streambed substrate in our bigger rivers to lay their eggs.

When To Watch Out For Redds

In the rivers around Bozeman, Montana female fish start clearing off these spawning areas when the water temperatures reach 42 to 44 degrees for a few days. The time of the year that we see this temperature varies year to year and can begin as early as late February. We have already seen a few redds popping up in rivers around Bozeman. The whole spawning process lasts up to 10 weeks. A few weeks for trout to clearing off redds, spawn, and then an additional 4 to 7 weeks for the eggs to hatch. It is important for anglers to stay away from redds for this entire time frame to ensure a successful new generation of fish.

Trout Eggs

How to Identify Redds

These spawning beds, or redds, can easily be identified by an area of cleared off gravel. The upriver portion of this cleared off circular or ovular redd will have a depresion where the female fish excavated to cover her eggs. Just below this depression will be bumps on the streambed, which are actually the egg pockets. The circled area in the top photo best shows a trout redd.

Trout on a Redd

If you see fish sitting on their redds leave them alone so they can get their mating done in peace. Also, be careful when wading the Bozeman Rivers so redds don’t get stepped on and the next generation of spring spawning trout have a chance to grow into a monster fish we can catch 5 years down the road.