We examined the stomach contents of 1,045 lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) caught on Six Fathom Bank and Yankee Reef, two offshore reef complexes in Lake Huron, during late spring and early summer 1998-2003. Lake trout ranged in total length from 213 to 858 mm, and in age from 2 to 14 years. In total, 742 stomachs contained food. On a wet-weight basis, alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus) dominated the spring-summer diet of lake trout on both of these offshore reef complexes. Alewives accounted for 75 to 90% of lake trout diet, depending on the lake trout size category. Size of alewives found in lake trout stomachs increased with increasing lake trout size. Faster growth of juvenile lake trout on Six Fathom Bank and Yankee Reef than on Sheboygan Reef in Lake Michigan was attributed to greater availability of small alewives on the offshore reefs in Lake Huron. Our findings indicated that alewives inhabited Six Fathom Bank and Yankee Reef during spring and summer months. Thus, our study provided support for the contention that alewives may have interfered with natural reproduction by lake trout on these offshore reef complexes in Lake Huron.
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Spring-summer diet of lake trout on Six Fathom Bank and Yankee Reef in Lake Huron