The 2019 Spawn is ON! [Repost from 2016]

[This is a repost from 2016 with some updates for 2019-2020]

The 2016 Putah Creek trout spawn is ramping up. Here are some tips on helping ensure the next generation gets a healthy start…

2019 – PCT has observed changes in the stream substrate that may impact the amount of optimal spawning substrate.  Consider giving the fish a break between December to March in order to give them the best opportunity for success.  

I visited the beautiful PC yesterday with my son.  Its a rare thing to be able to fish with him and I wanted to take advantage of a mutual day off. Although the fishing was not what I had hoped, we still spent a memorable day together.  After fishing a few hours without any success, we decided to break down the rods and check out some of the spawning areas.

There were no visible trout on the newly improved spawning beds above Canyon Creek Resort.  I’m sure they are coming. Maybe they had settled in deeper water during the mid day…

Another site lower down in the system revealed four trout on two visible redds (a redd is a gravel area prepared by the fish to recieve the fertalized eggs; the cleaner gravel typically appears lighter than the surrounding untended stream bed).  We were mesmerized by their movements and frankly, their size!  Their usual camoflaged silhouettes were starkly revealed on the pale redds.  Their beautiful copper and silver sides flashed as they cut their redds.

Cutting the redd

To top this off, we ended our day watching the salmon swim past the pedestrian bridge in Winters.  We met a mom and her two children.  They had counted 50 fish passing through! Here’s hoping that both the trout and salmon have a productive spawn this year!

Here are some simple tips everyone can follow to improve the fishery’s spawning success:

  1. Watch for signage that alerts anglers that they are entering a likely spawning habitat:20161106-putah_02
  2. Avoid targetting actively spawning fish. If they are on redds (see above video), paired up, or behaving in a territorial manner – LEAVE THEM ALONE! If these fish are caught, even if they survive, their change of successful spawning will dramatically decline.  Their eggs will not survive the build up of lactic acid and will be aborted or reabsorbed.  Many fisherman and guides give the Putah a break between November and February to avoid catching spawning fish – PROPS to them!
  3. Avoid walking upstream or ON the redds before and after the spawn (until ~April) as the fertalized eggs and alevins are easily smothered and crushed.  Give them a wide birth.

Putah Creek Trout thank you for following these tips… The future of the fishery depend on it!

4 Comments on “The 2019 Spawn is ON! [Repost from 2016]

    • Dan, I was scouting above access #3 and I’m seeing more fungal infections (I assume Saprolignia) on the spawners than I remember in previous years. My assessment of the infection rate is anecdotal to be sure, but I am wondering if there are any concerns about the health of the population at large or a possible consequence of a higher density of fish?


      • Chris and I noticed this as well during this year’s spawning survey. Perhaps more than any other year. It is unclear to me if this is truly a concern as I believe it is relatively self limited. But I am not an expert…


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