Trout Spawning


    Although the regular trout fishing season in New York State is still open until October 15 (and some Special Regulations areas into the end of November or year-round as in the No Kill Catch-and-Release areas) it is critical that trout fishers take extra care especially during such low water conditions. As a former NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Bureau of Fisheries employee, it is difficult for me to understand the reasoning for allowing trout fishing in waters where wild trout spawn past the month of September. This is a critical time in the life cycle of wild brook and brown trout, which spawn during the months of September through December. We have seen trout fishers unwittingly walking through trout redds in September and October, disturbing and disrupting trout trying to spawn, and destroying those ‘nests’ of eggs. Interestingly, trout eggs are larger and fewer in number than those of many other fish species. For example, while a mature female walleye may have 50,000 to 100,000 eggs, a mature female trout may only have 1,000 to 3,000 eggs, making it even more important to protect trout waters when spawning is occurring.  And especially with the concern of the apparent decrease in the wild brook trout population, it is more important than ever to be sure that wild trout waters remain undisturbed during this critical time period. At the very least, for those who decide to fish during the end of September and October, it would be better to fish from shore rather than entering the water, after first checking to see that no spawning fish would be disturbed.