So, what are Salmon redds and what do we know about them?

January 28, 2022

Salmon redds are essentially the nest in the river where a female (hen) salmon lays her eggs. Using her powerful tail, a female salmon digs out a small depression in the gravels where she deposits her eggs (and the males release their sperm), she then moves upstream to excavate another redd and the gravels from this one drift downstream to cover the first redd. The eggs will develop in these redds over winter to emerge in the spring.

Dr Al Reeve, our biologist summarises our 2021 redd count for the river Dee, he said " by doing repeat redd counts weekly at 14 sites for 15 years in some places and so represent an interesting and useful long-term dataset which provides some indication on the status of spawning animals which we can then look at in relation to the rod catch. Because of the challenges of counting redds from the bankside and in winter, the data we get does come with some question marks but by doing it for 15 years we get a much better idea of what is happening."

Mark Walker, one of our Fisheries officers does most of the counting with his colleagues, he said “In broad terms I was satisfied with what I was finding in most of the sites considering we had another season of relatively low rod catch. Worthy of mention were the Fearder, Gairn and Beltie sites which had better than average numbers of Redds this season. As in previous years, Winter storms made an appearance in the shape of Storm Arwen and later Storm Barra which affected water levels and thus redd counting activity."

Overall, we can see from the date that the number of redds recorded in 2021 is similar to that of the past 15 years suggesting that spawning hasn't changed much in this time. What is curious is that we're seeing redds appearing earlier and present later. What effect this is having remains a mystery though and something we will look to investigate in the future.

To read the full report and view the data click here Redd Counts 2021