On the Fly: Annual trout-spawning rituals are underway in the Roaring Fork Valley | AspenTimes.com

On the Fly: Annual trout-spawning rituals are underway in the Roaring Fork Valley

Scott Spooner
On the Fly
An angler passes by a Fryingpan River spawning bed.
Photo by Scott Spooner

Annual trout-spawning rituals are already underway in the Roaring Fork Valley, and we all need to do our part to assist in the natural reproduction of our resident brown trout. 

No doubt you have come across a few spawning beds (a.k.a. redds) on your recent outings, which are easily identified if you know what you are looking for. A spawning bed is usually a clean oval shape in generally shallow riffles and soft water on the river bottom. Female browns spend a lot of time preparing these beds, and, oftentimes, you will see them on their sides cleaning these areas with their tails.

Another indicator of a spawning bed is fish that will be right on or around them. Generally, there is a larger female surrounded by a few smaller males, and many anglers have a tough time walking past a big fish that is easy to see. This is the time of year to resist those urges and gently educate those whom you encounter fishing to active spawners. These fish are at their most vulnerable, and we all need to let nature take its course this time of year.

We also want to exercise caution while walking in the river near these spawning areas. Crossing upstream or on top of beds is a big no-no. Covering the fertilized trout eggs with mud leads to poor reproduction, so please be aware where you are walking while wade fishing this fall through early winter.

Many anglers new to the sport are unaware of this phenomenon. If we make them aware in a friendly way versus getting upset or aggressive, they will pay it forward the right way in the future. We all win this way, and, more importantly, the fish win!

This report is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374 or TaylorCreek.com.