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Seasonal variation in habitat use of juvenile Steelhead in a tributary of Lake Ontario

December 1, 2015

We examined seasonal-habitat use by subyearling and yearling Oncorhynchus mykiss (Rainbow Trout or Steelhead) in Trout Brook, a tributary of the Salmon River, NY. We determined daytime fish-habitat use and available habitat during August and October of the same year and observed differences in habitat selection among year classes. Water depth and cover played the greatest role in Steelhead habitat use. During summer and autumn, we found yearling Steelhead in areas with deeper water and more cover than where we observed subyearling Steelhead. Both year classes sought out areas with abundant cover during both seasons; this habitat was limited within the stream reach. Subyearling Steelhead were associated with more cover during autumn, even though available cover within the stream reach was greater during summer. Principal component analysis showed that variation in seasonal-habitat use was most pronounced for subyearling Steelhead and that yearling Steelhead were more selective in their habitat use than subyearling Steelhead. The results of this study contribute to a greater understanding of how this popular sportfish is adapting to a new environment and the factors that may limit juvenile Steelhead survival. Our findings provide valuable new insights into the seasonal-habitat requirements of subyearling and yearling Steelhead that can be used by fisheries managers to enhance and protect the species throughout the Great Lakes region.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2015
Title Seasonal variation in habitat use of juvenile Steelhead in a tributary of Lake Ontario
DOI 10.1656/045.022.0409
Authors Emily W. Studdert, James H. Johnson
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Northeastern Naturalist
Index ID 70160761
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Great Lakes Science Center