The lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) stock at Gull Island Shoal in western Lake Superior was one of only a few stocks of lean lake trout in the Great Lakes that survived overfishing and predation by the sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus). Since the mid 1960s, the abundance of wild recruits measured at age 0 and the number of age-7 to -11 wild fish recruited to the fishable stock have increased. We used the Varley-Gradwell method to test for density-dependent survival between these life stages. Survival from age-0 to ages 7-11 was not affected by increasing density, which suggests that further increases in recruitment and stock size are still possible. We suggest that testing for the existence of density-dependent survival can be used to indicate when lake trout populations are rehabilitated.
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Density-independent survival of wild lake trout in the Apostle Islands area of Lake Superior