Sea Trout Spawning

Sea Trout Spawning

Viking Lars | Saturday, 16 January 2021

There’s a stream not far from us, maybe 20 minutes drive and a good walk. It’s actually very close to where I used to study and back then, I too a walk along it quite often. I never fished it. It was in acceptable condition back then, but not far from the sea, there was (and still is) a mill with it’s weir and pond.

But with local volunteers a passage has now been created, so sea trout can pass the mill and the river itself has seen a lot of restoration. In fact, it’s in fantastic condition and sea trout has access to a lot of water.

It’s a small river by all standards, but believe it or not, even quite big sea trout go up. I’ll bet a 10-pounder isn’t a rare sight in November and December, when sea trout primarily spawn in small rivers.

My family and I drove out for a good, long walk in the forest the river runs through. It’s a beautiful forest and we needed some proper fresh air in this corona lock down. We took a good, long walk along the river and I explained to my daughters about sea trout, spawning, gravel, riffles, water levels, insects and more. And speaking of insects, I think I’ll be back some time in the spring with a kick sample net to see what insects I can find. Insects are an excellent indicator for water quality as several species only thrive in very clean water.

What do sea trout require from a stream? Well, very little to begin with, but if they are to be successful, keeping up the population and so on, they need access to as much river as possible. the river needs riffles with gravel banks in shallow(ish) water, where they can spawn and the eggs get lie safely till spring and get plenty of oxygen. The spawning sea trout don’t stay long in these small rivers, so when we there two weeks ago, we didn’t see any. But we saw plenty of redds, where the gravel had clearly been turned and that just makes me happy to see.

Billede 09.01.2021 11.55.24

Riffle upon riffle upon riffle, rocks, minute pools above the riffles, riffles tails. A perfect stream!

Riffles are important and even bigger drops too, because they oxygenate water.

For the hatchlings the river then needs hiding places. To begin with the hide in the margins of the shallow riffles and when they get a little bigger, the move into deeper water, and undercut banks, rocks etc. provide perfect hiding places.

If you have a stream close by, take a walk during the winter. Even if it doesn’t have sea trout, you can often see browns spawning too (remember they are the same species) if the water isn’t too high.

Have a great weekend!