The Anglers of The Au Sable annual redd survey tackled the upper North Branch the first week of November. As a part of their effort to monitor the River, they locate and measure the spawning areas of brown trout.
Volunteers included Angler members, North Branch property owners and even a couple of ANBAF Board members. Led and instructed by Gerry Lake and Terry Lyons, we learned how to tell which clean, “polished” rocks were real brown trout redds, not just where geese or muskrats had been feeding. Along the way were learned more about the River and the habits of trout.
Once a redd was confirmed, it was precisely located by a GPS and measured—length, width and depth, all recorded, along with notes of proximity to cover. These results will be complied, reviewed and stored for later analysis and future reference to help better understand the river and the fish. Our team of five located and measured forty redds just in our assigned stretch.
Many of these redds were adjacent to structures that had been placed in the River over the years as cover for the fish. Many of these had been installed in recent years by the Anglers’ North Branch habitat improvement project. So it was great to see that project is working!
Although wading the River in November without a fly rod in hand seems somehow colder, it was an educational and rewarding day.