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Disk-shaped traps were used to examine egg deposition by lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) at 29 sites in the Great Lakes. The main objectives were to; first, evaluate the disk trap as a device for sampling lake trout eggs in the Great Lakes, and second, summarize what has been learned about lake trout spawning through the use of disk traps. Of the 5,085 traps set, 60% were classified as functional when retrieved. Evidence of lake trout egg deposition was documented in each of the lakes studied at 14 of 29 sites. A total of 1,147 eggs were trapped. The percentage of traps functioning and catch per effort were compared among sites based on depth, timing of egg deposition, distance from shore, size of reef and type of reef (artificial or natural). Most eggs were caught on small, shallow, protected reefs that were close to shore. Use of disk traps on large, shallow, unprotected offshore reefs or along unprotected shorelines was generally unsuccessful due to the effects of heavy wind and wave action. Making multiple lifts at short intervals, and retrieval before and re-deployment after storms are recommended for use in exposed al eas. On large reefs, preliminary surveys to identify preferred lake trout spawning habitat may be required to deploy disk traps most effectively. Egg deposition by hatchery-reared fish was widespread throughout the Great Lakes, and the use of artificial structures by these fish was extensive.
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Use of egg traps to investigate lake trout spawning in the Great Lakes