What is a Redd or what does the phrase “protect the Redds” even mean?

Redd has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with the color.

Hmmm... what is a Redd or what does the phrase “protect the Redds” even mean? It is okay if you do not know, there is so much to learn and know in the fly fishing world that it can be overwhelming.  We ain’t about that, so let’s make it easy.

Redd has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with the color. I mean sure, the eggs have the tones, 

but a trout Redd AKA trout bed (brown chicken, brown trout) is simply an area in the river gravel that the trout uses its tail to clear out gravel to lay their eggs.

Redd is actually a Scottish word that means “to clean an area or to make tidy” which is exactly what the fish are doing. Trust me, I was confused since it had nothing to do with the color. To be fair, chartreuse sounds nothing like its color so there is that. 

So, a Redd is an area where the trout uses its tail to clear a spot in the river gravel to spawn. It can sometimes be difficult to spot, but typically the river will have a lighter oval shaped area that stands out from the rest of the river bottom.  However, if you at least try to climb up on a bank (given the option) to sight the river you will have a better opportunity to spot the Redds. 

"A common misconception is that trout lay their eggs on top of the gravel but that isn’t so."

It is still important to not go stomping through any Redds. During the process of using their tails to clear a spot about 1-2 inches deep the trout are also depositing their eggs under the gravel. Which species do this and during what times you ask?  Brown trout spawn in the fall while rainbow and cut throat spawn during the spring.

So, is it ethical or not to fish the Redds?

Well, this is my personal opinion but no, it is not right to fish for spawning trout.  Especially in Arkansas or southern states where the trout have a hard-enough time surviving through low water levels and higher water temperatures during the summer.  I mean think about it, those eggs will be the trout you catch next year... 

So, I wholeheartedly agree with Mark Boname an owner of North Platte River Fly Shop when talking about (any form of) fishing said,

“You are intentionally targeting an easy prey that is tired and for the most part doesn’t even give you much of a fight. It goes against the grain of what fly fishing is all about." Mark Boname

Fly fishing is an addiction, full of art, grace and understanding our environment, it’s not about greed or the photograph of the huge fish (without mentioning how you caught it……. you know who you are!).” 

What he said is true, right down to the core of what most of us fly fisherman believe.

What now?

Let’s do our best to stay clear of the Redds! Oh, and anyhow what better chance to catch those other hungry trout species down river hoping to snack on an egg that drifted away? Seems like a great reward for doing the right thing. You can even win a free rod combo and get free stuff for posting awareness for the fish. Follow the link below and the program lasts only for a short time.

Redds Giveaway

Tight lines and good vibes y’all! 

Rebecca Lentz

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  • I love people that share their knowledge and help protect the future. Thank you for your explanation of REDD.

    Deb on

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