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Using side scan sonar data in a geographic information system to locate and display lake trout spawning habitat in the Great Lakes

January 1, 1988

The National Fisheries Research Center-Great Lakes of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has extensively used a side scan sonar to survey and pinpoint lake trout spawning grounds in the Great Lakes. The Geographic Information System (GIS) of the National Ecology Research Center produced maps from the side scan sonar data showing the exact location of the spawning grounds; this will enable current stocking programs to be carried out at those locations. These maps show the geographic position (latitude and longitude) of both the color-coded primary substrate types and the secondary substrate types, which are denoted by overstrikes. The maps must be supplemented with a Loran-C navigation grid for field use. The maps are proving useful to fishery managers by locating lake trout stocking areas in Lakes Michigan and Huron, as well as to researchers who investigate habitat quality on lake trout spawning grounds.