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The food habits of young lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) were studied by examining the digestive tracts of 293 young-of-the-year collected in Presque Isle Harbor, Lake Superior. Lake trout in the 25 to 27-mm length range started to eat food organisms before all of their yolk material was absorbed. Organisms consumed by the 25 to 27-mm young-of-the-year included Chironomidae, Copepoda (Harpacticoida, Calanoida, Cyclopoida), and Cladocerea (Daphnia spp., Bosmina sp., Chydorus sp.). Chironomid pupae and chironomid larvae accounted for 74% and 5%, respectively, of the total volume of food eaten by the young lake trout in Presque Isle Harbor. Although copepods, cladocerans, and mysids were present in many stomachs, their contribution to the total volume of food was only 15%. Some lake trout in the 32 to 54-mm length range had consumed fry of sculpin (Cottus spp.) or rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax), but the overall contribution of fish fry to the total volume of food was only 4% (frequency of occurrence, 10%). The lake trout in Presque Isle Harbor fed heavily on planktonic organisms, sparingly on benthic organisms, and were opportunistic feeders that appeared to prey on whatever forage organisms were available in the shallow nearshore waters.
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Food of young-of-the-year lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) in Presque Isle Harbor, Lake Superior