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Diet and bathymetric distribution of juvenile Lake Trout Salvelinus namaycush in Lake Huron

December 17, 2020

Rehabilitation efforts for Lake Trout Salvelinus namaycush in Lake Huron have resulted in increased capture of young wild Lake Trout in annual bottom trawl surveys conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey. To better understand the ecology of juvenile (<400mm) Lake Trout, we summarized the spatial distribution of their capture in bottom trawls at six ports in Lake Huron during October/November 20082017 and analyzed diets of wild (n = 306 of 337 total) and hatchery-origin (n = 18 of 30 total) fish captured. Lake Trout ranged in size from 27 to 399mm, representing at least three age-classes, and 92% were wild origin. Most wild juvenile Lake Trout (83%) were captured at 4664 m depths at the two northernmost ports, typically below the thermocline. Mysis diluviana was the most prevalent prey type, found in 75% of wild fish with non-empty stomachs, followed by two non-native species: Spiny Water Flea Bythotrephes longimanus (31%) and Round Goby Neogobius melanostomus (12%). Small Lake Trout (<185mm) consumed invertebrates but transitioned to mostly fish-based diets by >185mm (age 2). The variety of taxa consumed by young Lake Trout increased with length. Further declines in Mysis populations due to increased predation pressure after the loss of Diporeia from the system may hinder the recovery of wild Lake Trout, and although they have been able to utilize invasive species as prey, impacts to Lake Trout growth remain unknown. Additional research on the habitat use and diets of wild juvenile Lake Trout may provide insight into the reasons behind the recent successful natural reproduction and recruitment of Lake Trout in Lake Huron.

Publication Year 2020
Title Diet and bathymetric distribution of juvenile Lake Trout Salvelinus namaycush in Lake Huron
DOI 10.1080/14634988.2020.1826158
Authors Edward F. Roseman, Stephen Riley, Taaja Tucker, Steve A. Farha, Scott Jackson, Dustin Bowser
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Aquatic Ecosystem Health & Management
Index ID 70217102
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Great Lakes Science Center