Early Salmon and Trout Spawning

reddie

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Over the past couple of years I have seen spawning commencing earlier for both trout and salmon on the river Bandon. The first trout redds I witnessed this year were on the 12th of October and yesterday I observed a pair of grilse resting beside a freshly cut redd which is the earliest I have seen for salmon. The location of these is on the main channel in the lower to middle river but I haven't checked the upper reaches properly yet. Back in 2009/2010, peak spawning activity was late December/early January with freshly cut redds still evident in February. How times change! And it really is mirroring the run times of salmon into the river; earlier runs earlier spawning. Have other rivers seen spawning occurring earlier over the past couple of years?
 

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Guesty

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I seen this yesterday on my local river. Didn't see any fish near it, so may be a big seatrout redd but very early to see it in this section of the river.
 

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FaughanPurple

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They'll cut practise redds from about mid September. I've seen it the last few years especially with it being dry, low and clear. With the longer nights there's an Odd morning frost about. no doubt kick starting a few early.
 
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reddie

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They'll cut practise redds from about mid September. I've seen it the last few years especially with it being dry, low and clear. With the longer nights there's an Odd morning frost about. no doubt kick starting a few early.

Remember seeing test redds as early as August in 2014 when the water was very low and salmon were simply frustrated. This is the earliest, complete redd I've seen. Will be interesting to see how it all pans out over the next couple of months!
 

westie4566

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Over the years I've seen practice seatrout redds on the Westwater in August, whilst fresh fish were still piling into the system.

Extremely common to see practice salmon redds in the South Esk from September onwards.

This does not mean that the fish are about to spawn though.....just call it 'foreplay':p

Have also on many occasions seen 'early doors' fish starting to spawn properly on the upper South Esk whilst still catching split fresh fish in the pools a few yards downstream.

Practice redds are just that and are very common. However are just more visible in years with lower/clearer back end flows.

They don't mean that fish are about to spawn tomorrow any more than fish with fungus on them have UDN!:rolleyes:

(Sorry, the latter is a pet hate of mine. Have forgotten how many times I've had to explain to experienced anglers why UDN fish had saprolegnia same as fish that are damaged/ stressed/kelts etc. can also have saprolegnia:rolleyes:) Just had to explain it again to a Bailiff last week.........:rolleyes::rolleyes:
 
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miramichi

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Over the years I've seen practice seatrout redds on the Westwater in August, whilst fresh fish were still piling into the system.

Extremely common to see practice salmon redds in the South Esk from September onwards.

This does not mean that the fish are about to spawn though.....just call it 'foreplay':p

Have also on many occasions seen 'early doors' fish starting to spawn properly on the upper South Esk whilst still catching split fresh fish in the pools a few yards downstream.

Practice redds are just that and are very common. However are just more visible in years with lower/clearer back end flows.

They don't mean that fish are about to spawn tomorrow any more than fish with fungus on them have UDN!:rolleyes:

(Sorry, the latter is a pet hate of mine. Have forgotten how many times I've had to explain to experienced anglers why UDN fish had saprolegnia same as fish that are damaged/ stressed/kelts etc. can also have saprolegnia:rolleyes:) Just had to explain it again to a Bailiff last week.........:rolleyes::rolleyes:


I learned something new this evening... I had never heard of or seen practice redds, but it makes perfect sense that they would create redds prematurely out of instinct or whatever. On the Cains a few years back we had a trial extended season, and I actually caught fish while other fish were in the process of building redds not all that far away. The extended season was canceled after a couple of years for that exact reason.
 

Ursus Nautilus

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For the eggs to hatch, IT takes a given number of Day degrees. (days x temp). And the fry need to be able to find food When They swim up from the gravel. This in general means That the warmer a river system is ( like uk compared to Norway) , the later the spawning occurs. And in colder rivers, hatching and swim up is later ( like Northern Norway).

Hence a warmer climate in general should lead to later spawning.
 
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Editor

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The south needs some rain

I went looking yesterday in my local sea trout spawning stream are in Sussex and it was the lowest I have seen. We are going to need a good downpour or two to fill it back up and clear it out of all the log-jams and floating rubbish stuck in several places as well. To be honest it is way too early still down here but I like to try and find the first ones of the year. :)
 

Ursus Nautilus

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Troutcontrol: not surprised, given how cold the Umba will be for many.months. But I guess You Were looking for the osenkas, Who start to run early in one autumn, only to Spawn the next ?

There are huge deviations, but in general an avg temp of 2 C makes the eggs hatch in roughly 180 days, while an av of 10 C makes the eggs hatch in maybe 60 days. Above maybe 12 C., an increasingly large number of the eggs never hatch. And another interesting fact. Is That eggs That hatch over a Long periode tend to produce bigger alevins.

My guess is That parts of the Umba will be Just above freezing for a Long time, so the fish need to Spawn early.

IT also show That a very mild winter forllowed by a Long, cold spring can lead to early hatching and Then starvation.

IT takes a lot more than a good spawning Stock to see a lot of returning fish many years later.
 
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westie4566

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Troutcontrol: not surprised, given how cold the Umba will be for many.months. But I guess You Were looking for the osenkas, Who start to run early in one autumn, only to Spawn the next ?

There are huge deviations, but in general an avg temp of 2 C makes the eggs hatch in roughly 180 days, while an av of 10 C makes the eggs hatch in maybe 60 days. Above maybe 12 C., an increasingly large number of the eggs never hatch. And another interesting fact. Is That eggs That hatch over a Long periode tend to produce bigger alevins.

My guess is That parts of the Umba will be Just above freezing for a Long time, so the fish need to Spawn early.

IT also show That a very mild winter forllowed by a Long, cold spring can lead to early hatching and Then starvation.

IT takes a lot more than a good spawning Stock to see a lot of returning fish many years later.

That's what I love about this forum, other's input making you think!

I'd not considered the mild winter/cold spring scenario before you posted this UN.

We certainly had that in Winter 11/12. Relatively mild, than a very long cold spring where the water was still very cold into early May.

I wonder is we're seeing the effects of that now?
 

apd13

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That's what I love about this forum, other's input making you think!

I'd not considered the mild winter/cold spring scenario before you posted this UN.

We certainly had that in Winter 11/12. Relatively mild, than a very long cold spring where the water was still very cold into early May.

I wonder is we're seeing the effects of that now?

A school day for me. Thanks chaps.
 

Ursus Nautilus

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From what I know, the swim up period ( until the Yolk sack is consumed) can last maybe 60 days at 4 C, and maybe only 30 days at 10 C. After swim- up, the alevins need to find food to grow, and Even to survive. But at a low temperature, Their metabolism will be Much.lower as well.

The alevins tolerate a Much higher temperature than the eggs, which might show a Much lowered hatching rate above only 10-12 C ( fungus).
 

westie4566

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From what I know, the swim up period ( until the Yolk sack is consumed) can last maybe 60 days at 4 C, and maybe only 30 days at 10 C. After swim- up, the alevins need to find food to grow, and Even to survive. But at a low temperature, Their metabolism will be Much.lower as well.

The alevins tolerate a Much higher temperature than the eggs, which might show a Much lowered hatching rate above only 10-12 C ( fungus).

That's interesting as I reckon (need to look into it however) that our average rivers temps over winter are around the 2C range.

What do you reckon the swim up rates would be at these levels?
 

Hardy rod

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I learned something new this evening... I had never heard of or seen practice redds, but it makes perfect sense that they would create redds prematurely out of instinct or whatever. On the Cains a few years back we had a trial extended season, and I actually caught fish while other fish were in the process of building redds not all that far away. The extended season was canceled after a couple of years for that exact reason.

Biologically it would not seem to make any sense for a fish that does not feed in freshwater to waste precious energy reserves digging practice redds. Can I ask where the evidence is to prove they are just practicing and not cutting the redd to spawn?
 
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Ursus Nautilus

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Westie, I'd believe it was more than 2 C during spring, When the eggs have hatched? And also That the water temp was more than 2 C on avg from spawning to hatching?

It varies a lot, Even within watercourses. At our mountain home Just now, along the mighty Driva. Here fish run up to nearly 600 m asl, the highest in Norway. And more than 2/3rd of the catchment Lies above 1.000 m asl. Hence, smoltification can take up to 6-7 years in the upper part. But not frozen over yet, and in May IT is Open again.
 

troutcontrol

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But I guess You Were looking for the osenkas, Who start to run early in one autumn, only to Spawn the next ?

Yes, we got some fall run fish, too!! :eek:




There are huge deviations, but in general an avg temp of 2 C makes the eggs hatch in roughly 180 days, while an av of 10 C makes the eggs hatch in maybe 60 days.

Thx, didn´t know that!!
 

FaughanPurple

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Biologically it would not seem to make any sense for a fish that does not feed in freshwater to waste precious energy reserves digging practice redds. Can I ask where the evidence is to prove they are just practicing and not cutting the redd to spawn?

Excellent question! Why waste energy if you can do it once successfully. So if they're not spawning early why bother?

They could be just good parents. Maybe they're testing the area, seeing if it's going to the redd securely throug winter floods and drought. When they know it is They hang around quietly to the big event.. Or fight over the best areas. Sat a few years Back watching 2 cocks fight over a big hen at the kill pot. Quite a sight
 

westie4566

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Biologically it would not seem to make any sense for a fish that does not feed in freshwater to waste precious energy reserves digging practice redds. Can I ask where the evidence is to prove they are just practicing and not cutting the redd to spawn?

Don't know where you actually fish mate...but if you have regular access to small rivers, then you will have seen this happen, just as have our forefathers in years gone by.

Usually starts late August with early run seatrout. They flap about scraping 'redds' ( aye and that's a hen fish with no cock fish in sight)....this extends into September and the salmon start doing the same.

Funnily enough, the practice areas I have witnessed are never real spawning areas, they tend to be many, many miles upstream.
 

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saw a couple big light patches of gravel on the Nith in the last couple days. 2.5 to 3 feet on the length of the flow, 2 feet wide. I know the sea trout spawn a lot earlier than the salmon, but some large areas. Very obvious patches given the rest of the river bed is so covered in algae.
 

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If you want river temp look at the Pitlochry salmon ladder page. It never got below 3c last year and that was in Feb\March. That is in the Scottish Highlands so fairly cold (for the UK). Clearly Norway and Canada are much colder, but most UK salmon rivers rarely freeze. From what I was told as a kid, Irish fish were supposed to spawn first. Not sure that is true and trust me the winters on the West Coast of Ireland are much milder than those on the East of Scotland. I would say 3 to 4 C warmer. So if true why do Irish fish spawn early or is it because most fish run in the summer (no real back end run) and as the season closes mostly at the end of Sept we just guess they must spawn before the Tweed fish whose season runs until the end of Nov? Irish season starts mostly in Jan and most fish are kelts. So must have spawned but my only Tweed fish was heavyly gravid (mid spawning and no picture) on the upper Tweed in early Nov. So does the river location matter in the UK with regards spawning time or is it up to individual fish? We have much to learn!
 

Ness Glen

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Biologically it would not seem to make any sense for a fish that does not feed in freshwater to waste precious energy reserves digging practice redds. Can I ask where the evidence is to prove they are just practicing and not cutting the redd to spawn?

Actually came across what must be sea trout practice redds today in a Spey burn.

The bottom of this long pool had many of these clear patches on the gravel. The flow here was far too slow for fish to spawn so I presume they must have been limbering up. Other potential explanations such as deer crossing were considered but discounted. This is not behaviour I normally associate with sea trout, these practice redds more commonly occur in salmon pools in the main river but as the fish are never witnessed creating them they could be sea trout? It would take very little energy for a hen to create these clear patches, a quick turn on the side and a couple sweeps of the tail would be all that was required.

In the run at the top of the pool there were three proper redds with the full structure present i.e. pit and raised fan or plume of substrate. The practice redds have no such structure other than a very shallow depression.
 
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Ness Glen

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Here fish run up to nearly 600 m asl, the highest in Norway. And more than 2/3rd of the catchment Lies above 1.000 m asl. Hence, smoltification can take up to 6-7 years in the upper part. But not frozen over yet, and in May IT is Open again.

Hi UN, here is a picture of a Spey salmon redd at 600m asl in the Avon tributary. These are some of the highest spawning salmon in Scotland (only the Dee can compare). The photo was taken on the 30th Oct last year, a date when quite a few fish were seen cutting redds. The fish spawn early at the altitude due to the cold ambient temperatures; still they smolt after 3 or 4 years, never 6 or 7.
 
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westie4566

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Actually came across what must be sea trout practice redds today in a Spey burn.

The bottom of this long pool had many of these clear patches on the gravel. The flow here was far too slow for fish to spawn so I presume they must have been limbering up. Any other potential explanations such as deer crossing very considered but discounted. This is not behaviour I normally associate with sea trout, they more commonly occur in salmon pools in the main river but as the fish are never witnessed creating them they could be sea trout? It would take very little energy for a hen to create these clear patches, a quick turn on the side and a couple sweeps of the tail would be all that was required.

In the run at the top of the pool there were three proper redds with the full structure present i.e. pit and raised fan or plume of substrate. The practice redds have no such structure other than a very shallow depression.

Thanks for the response NG!

Was wondering how I was going to respond to Hardy rod whilst out walking the dogs earlier.

I've realised that the answer of 'well I've watched the fish for over 4 decades' doesn't appear to 'cut the mustard' on this forum these days:rolleyes:

My experiences of all these practice redds are scraped gravel on shallow water with no fish anywhere to be seen.

My experience of real redds are much more pronounced with fish very much in evidence. Early on both hen and cock fish milling about thereafter, cock fish 'protecting' the redds.
 

reddie

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Checking water and air temperature records there now for here in Cork. For October, the average air temp. has been 10.9 degrees Celsius and the water temp has never gone below 10 degrees Celsius. The last few days it's been above the 12 degree mark. Some salmon, and plenty trout, cutting redds with frost forecast this week. Could well be a good few eggs hatching before the year is out!
 
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