Stomach contents of 3,554 lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush), 100 to 449 mm in total length, captured with bottom trawls during April through October 1978-81 along the south shore of Lake Ontario were examined. Invertebrates appeared to be an important food of lake trout less than 200 mm long but were only occasionally eaten by larger fish. For all seasons and size groups of juvenile lake trout combined, the slimy sculpin (Cottus cognatus) was the principal forage fish, making up 42% (by weight) of identifiable fish remains. Young-of-the-year slimy sculpins were a major food of recently stocked yearling lake trout during July through October. Alewives (Alosa pseudoharengus) were the principal forage during April and May, and made up 28% (by weight) of the identifiable fish remains. They were rarely eaten during July and August, however, when lake trout remained in the hypolimnion and alewives were above it. Over 99% of the alewives eaten from April through August were yearlings and over 99% eaten during October were young-of-the-year. Rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax) were the primary forage during July and August, but contributed only a small part of the diet during other seasons; overall, they made up 25% of identifiable fish remains. Johnny darters (Etheostoma nigrum) made up 4% of identifiable fish remains and were most common in stomachs of small lake trout during October.
Additional publication details
Seasonal food of juvenile lake trout in U.S. waters of Lake Ontario