Trout Love in the Spring – What is a “Redd”?

Posted on: May 2nd, 2019 by Leslie_Zucker

The wild Rainbow Trout of the upper Esopus Creek are now spawning – it’s spring! Here are the mechanics: a female trout digs a depression in the gravel with her tail called a “redd.” She deposits the eggs and waits for a male trout to fertilize them, then she covers the eggs with loose gravel. They both swim away leaving the eggs sheltered (unlike salmon, trout don’t die after spawning). Rainbow Trout spawn in late spring until temperatures start to rise. Brown Trout and Brook Trout spawn in the fall.

A special note to anglers and anyone wading streams this spring – be mindful of redds and don’t disturb them.

A redd should appear like a depression with clean gravel inside, and may be lighter or darker than the surrounding gravel (see the photos below). Don’t walk through them and be careful where you wade. Redds in the upper Esopus Creek are often observed in the “tailout” of a pool.

In the parlance of geomorphology, this stream bed feature is called a “glide.” Glides are where the steeply sloped bed rising out of a pool becomes flatter and water velocity increases. Glides are located immediately downstream of pools.

Rainbow Trout Redd

Rainbow Trout redd in the Bushnellsville Creek, May 2018. Photo by Ed Ostapczuk.

Rainbow Trout Redd

Rainbow Trout redd observed in a tributary to the upper Esopus Creek, April 2019. Photo by Ed Ostapczuk.

Glide with Rainbow Trout Redd

Location of the redd above in tailout of a pool. Photo by Ed Ostapczuk.