Almost every fish in Nebraska waters spawns at some time during the spring. That can occur from early, early spring all the way through summer. So, yes, I am stretching when I use the word “spring” to describe the timing of that reproductive activity.
However, that wording is correct because they do not spawn in the fall.
With two exceptions. . . .
Brown trout and brook trout in Nebraska are fall spawners. Yes, we do have populations of both species maintained by natural reproduction in Nebraska streams. Since I have not mentioned it recently, if you are looking for those waters, you must start here, Trout Fishing in Nebraska’s Streams.
I bring up this subject now because yes, it is fall. It is one of my favorite times of year to explore one of our cold-water trout streams and catch some trout. I particularly like to catch some brown or brook trout this time of year. In their spawning colors, they are even more gorgeous! For example, this brown trout:
If you think that is purdy, the brownies do not hold a candle to a male brook trout in spawning colors! To demonstrate I have this video I stumbled upon. It shows spawning behavior of brook trout. Mostly, I love it because it shows just how beautiful those fish are.
If you watched that video, I hope you noticed not only the pretty fish, but also some of the comments about their number one habitat requirement–WATER! Now, I am not going to say the situation in New Hampshire and New Jersey is anything like Nebraska. I will say that our small Nebraska streams where brook trout are swimming are “spring” fed. The water comes from groundwater. I will also tell you that water quality is not always the biggest worry for Nebraska fisheries. Oftentimes, it is water QUANTITY. As in, will there be enough water for fish to survive?
If you want to take even more time, and perhaps learn a thing or two about trout and their habitat, read the article behind the video. Remember, it may not be directly applicable to Nebraska waters, but I will always tell you that “Habitat is where it’s at”! Through our Aquatic Habitat Program we have started doing rehabilitation projects on Nebraska trout streams. There will be more in the future.
Finally, just because the fish are so beautiful and the places they are found are some of the prettiest in Nebraska, I close with a picture. This photo is one of my most prized. It is not because the fish was so big, but because it was so beauteous. When I spotted this fish, I knew I wanted to catch him. Crawled on my hands and knees to get into position without spooking him and his partner (she was larger by the way, but not as colorful). I was beside myself when I landed him. Then, I was despondent when I grabbed the old-fashioned camera, advanced the film, and discovered that was it–end of the roll! Took one picture, hoping I got an exposed frame. At the film processor, I left special instructions wanting that last exposure. Thank goodness I got it!