Our Shannon RBD staff have reported high numbers of brown trout spawning in the feeder streams and rivers of our midland loughs this winter. Trout like to spawn in shallow, well oxygenated stretches of river. They need good water quality and plenty of gravel for them to dig their redds (gravel nests that the female fish dig to lay their eggs in). Big trout dig big redds and some of the redds pictured below were formed by the tails of some good sized fish.

Some of the streams where these photographs were taken benefitted from habitat restoration work under the Midland Fisheries Funds over the years, so it is great to see the hard work of angling clubs and IFI staff pay off.

Many of the fish that spawned this winter will have been fish that were caught and released by anglers fishing the loughs in the spring and summertime; the sustainable practice of catch and release angling will help to ensure healthy stocks of wild brown trout on our loughs for generations to come.

In low water conditions a keen eye can pick out the areas of disturbed gravel – washed clean from the disturbance and raised in to a hump downstream of a slight depression in the riverbed.

If you are walking beside an Irish river or stream in the next few days keep an eye out for redds and you might even see a trout or two close by, the lack of rain in recent days will help you to spot them. Most redds will be smaller than the ones shown – as these are the work of big lough trout (or they may even be locations where numerous fish spawned in the same spot).