One Redd, Two Redd, Three Redd, Brown Redd!

SG November Image

Calgary River Valleys announces the 2017 Lower Elbow River Redd Count on November 10, 2017.

No, we haven’t spelled redd wrong! Redds are the nests that trout create in which to lay their eggs. In the fall, the female brown trout, when she finds just the right size and depth of clean gravel in a riverbed, wriggles her tail vigorously back and forth creating a small depression. The eggs are deposited, fertilized and then incubate in place overwinter until little fry (baby trout) emerge in the spring.

On November 10, 2017 Calgary River Valleys under the leadership of aquatic biologist, Chris Bjornson, will be guiding university students on the 21st Elbow River brown trout redd count from the base of the Glenmore Dam to the confluence with the Bow River.

Typically, redd counts might be done every 5 years. However, funding from a variety of sources including current funds from the Land Stewardship Centre has enabled Calgary River Valleys to conduct redd counts on an annual basis.

According to Chris Bjornson of Golder Associates, annual counts provide an early indication of trends over time. This was key when assessing the impacts of the 2013 flood. From a high of 427 redds in 2000 the number of redds dropped to 101 in 2014, post-flood. Counts in 2015 and 2016 are revealing a slow recovery. For more information see and YouTube at

What will be the story on November 10, 2017?

Calgary River Valleys is not sure but, on the day, we invite your participation to find out. New for this year Calgary River Valleys is offering observation spots on a third raft that will follow the two “count” rafts. Observers will be divided into two groups with one group in the morning and the other group jumping in at Stanley Park in the afternoon. If floating/walking down the Elbow River is not your cup of tea in November you can meet the redd counters at lunchtime at Stanley Park where there will be an informal talk, displays and the opportunity to indulge in the latest river fashion, chest waders, to view redds opposite Stanley Park.

Observation spots are limited. You must email [email protected] and reply to the skill-testing question, “Do you want to participate in the 21st lower Elbow River Redd Count?”

Calgary River Valleys thanks the Land Stewardship Centre, Chris Bjornson, The City of Calgary and of course the brown trout for giving us this opportunity

Calgary River Valleys champions and engages the public in the protection, appreciation and stewardship of Calgary’s rivers, creeks, wetlands and water resources.

We are the voice of our rivers.