The Early Brook Trout Hatch

The brook trout hatch of the fall 2019 spawning season, on Millennium Creek, is quite unique. Due to the warm ground water spring water temperatures, in the winter, the incubating trout egg hatch is usually early, likely in December. In January, sometimes in the first week, the hatched trout will emerge from their gravel spawning beds. At first they appear as trout larva, with rounded tails. Then they slowly start to transform into what is commonly called the fry stage in their lives.

This tiny brook trout still has a slightly rounded tail, and very large eyes. The Millennium Creek trout fry habitats are very rich with microscopic life and larger invertebrate populations. The young trout have plenty of food to help them in their first weeks of life.

The young trout of Millennium Creek need to learn about their food source. I have watched them feed, sometimes taking a small piece of debris in their mouths, just to check and see if it tastes like food. Probably if the item is soft in their bite, the tiny trout will figure it is food. Anything that is small enough and moves, is in big trouble. The trout are especially attracted to motion and the scent in the water. This is all proven science.

This trout hatch is proven to be so consistent, most likely it is all due to the environment being a very reliable and safe habitat for any trout eggs to hatch in. The water in the ground spring has been tested and there is an abnormally high level of orthophosphate, which is commonly called just phosphate. The ingredient enhances the nutrient levels in the water and helps promote good populations of microbial life. Over the past ten years, there has been ten successful trout egg hatches on Millennium Creek. This makes the area especially important!

The water testing results were reviewed by Al Sosiak, who was a professional with AEP Water Resources, at the time of testing. It is always best to have some outside professional help on such things. Al Sosiak was always willing to help out when needed and we also managed to get in a little fly fishing over the years. From the steelhead waters of BC to the local trout streams, we fished for trout and had fun doing just that.

A more recent photo of Al Sosiak, fly fishing the Bow River.

The trout egg hatch starts later on the Bighill Creek itself. During a study in 2009, I live trapped trout larva in mid-May. Soon after the first trout larva was captured, photographed and safely released, I trapped many more. This would indicate that the emergence occurs mainly in the month of May every year. So it is really nice to have an early and late trout hatch on the Bighill Creek system. An early hatch in January on Millennium Creek and one later on in May. There is also a hatch on the upper spring in April, so this adds to the overall recruitment of juvenile brook trout into the BH Creek.

The early wet fly patterns are a good reminder of our fly fishing heritage.

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