Bathythermal distributions of hatchery-reared lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) of three genetic strains (Lake Superior; Clearwater Lake, Manitoba; and Seneca Lake, New York) were described from catches with bottom trawls in Lake Ontario during April-May, June, July-August, and October, 1978-1984. This work was part of a program to evaluate post-stocking performance of hatchery-reared fish and identify strains for continued use in rehabilitation of lake trout in Lake Ontario. All age groups of Lake Superior fish were in deeper water in April-May than in June each year; mean depth of capture was greatest at age II and became progressively shallower at ages III and IV. Mean depth of capture in April-May was positively correlated with severity of the preceding winter as judged by heating degree days and average wind speed. During July-August, the fish were concentrated between the epilimnion and 50 m, with no consistent trend in depth by age; however, 92% were captured at water temperatures of 12A?C or lower. Mean temperatures of capture for Lake Superior fish during the four respective sampling periods were 3.9, 7.5, 6.9, and 9.5A?C for fish of age II and 3.9, 8.4, 6.9, and 8.7A?C for fish of age III. The age-II Clearwater Lake fish were consistently at shallower depths than age-II Lake Superior fish. Mean temperatures of capture were 4.2, 9.7, 9.6, and 10.7A?C during the four respective sampling periods; during July-August, 91% were taken in water of 12A?C or lower. The distribution of Seneca Lake fish was similar to that of the Lake Superior strain. Mean temperatures at which the three strains were captured were well below published preferred temperatures of yearlings in the laboratory. Annual variations in depth distributions during a given season were probably due to differing thermal regimes resulting from annual variations in the weather.
Additional publication details
Seasonal bathythermal distribution of juvenile lake trout in Lake Ontario