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Monday, February 6 • 4:00pm - 4:20pm
Technical Session. Habitat Selection of Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) and Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in a Lake Michigan Tributary

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AUTHORS: Mitchell Nisbet, Dr. Daniel Hayes - Michigan State University

ABSTRACT: Fish respond to habitat conditions at a variety of scales, and different species often select for different conditions within a scale.  In this study, we evaluated how juvenile brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) habitat use varied in a coldwater tributary to Lake Michigan.  At the site scale (i.e., 100 meter stretch of river), brook trout were generally found at lower order, colder sites with abundant gravel. Rainbow trout were most abundant at most sites sampled, and did not show as great a preference for cold sites as brook trout.  Within a site, brook trout tended to be found at microhabitat locations (i.e., < 0.25 meter) that were close to the stream shore, and that had gravel substrate and overhead cover.  In contrast, rainbow trout appeared to orient strongly to woody debris or overhead cover, but were less selective for near shore habitat.  Further, rainbow trout were distributed across a variety of substrates as long as woody debris was present.   These habitat preferences highlight the need to consider species-specific habitat requirements when doing habitat restoration or enhancement. Parallel to the observation that fish respond to habitat in a hierarchical way, restoration needs to proceed starting at the broad scale (e.g., is the water within the temperature preference of brook trout), and then consider meso- or micro-habitat conditions (e.g., addition of overhead cover should occur only where gravel occurs if one is managing for brook trout).  

Monday February 6, 2017 4:00pm - 4:20pm CST
Grand Ballroom F