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When Do Trout Spawn?

trout spawning in a creek

Spawning is an important part of trouts’ lives (especially the steelhead variety, who return from the sea to spawn). So we can’t blame you if you start to wonder when do trout spawn?


Because there are so many types of trout located all over the world, it’s hard to pinpoint one spawning season for all of them. Naturally, each species is different and thus has its own preferred spawning time.


In addition to the species, several things influence trout spawning time:


  • Water temperature
  • Day length
  • Water flow
  • Population health


Trout also need cool, clean, silt-free gravel areas where they can lay their eggs and protect them from predators (and the boots of careless fishers).


All that being said, let’s take a look at the common breeding seasons for some of the more popular trout varieties. As you’ll see, spawning season lasts all year long, depending on where you are and what kind of trout you’re talking about.



Steelhead trout return to rivers from the sea in order to spawn in the spring.

Late Spring/Early Summer

Rainbow and cutthroat trout spawn in late spring or early summer, generally between February and May. Rainbow trout begin spawning earlier than other trout species, at just two years of age.

Fall/Early Winter

Fall and early winter months, when the water starts to cool, is a popular spawning time for several trout species:


  • Brown
  • Brook
  • Lake
  • Bull


Fall spawning usually takes place between November and January. Interestingly, lake trout tend to spawn at night, while brown trout and most others spawn during daylight.

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