Classic Pro Tips: Spring Fishing is Great, But Don’t Tread on Redds photo-of-trout-redd.jpg

Spring has sprung on the calendar, and the rainbows are doing their thing at this time of year. That means some ornery trout, and with the water temps creeping up, feisty browns, as well. When you’re out on the water, PLEASE be mindful of redds (trout spawning beds). You’ll find them in shallow, gravelly areas with a nice, steady current flowing over them. A redd looks like a shallow, scooped out bowl of cleaned gravel that stands out from the surrounding darker, weedier gravel. (See the photo above.)

You may or may not see trout on the redds, but either way, just admire the trout’s innate desire to perpetuate the species and leave those areas alone. Whatever you do, do not walk through redds. Be careful where you wade. You can have some amazing fishing in the spring and still uphold the fly fisherman’s version of the physician’s oath—First, do no harm. When you catch a rainbow, take good care of it, keep it in the water as much as possible while you unhook it, and then release it quickly.

If you must capture the moment, leave the fish in the net in the water until you’re absolutely ready to snap the shot. Cradle the fish gently, keeping it low to the water—or even at the surface of the water—snap the photo quickly, and get the fish back into river STAT. (Some of the best photos are of fish in the water.)