A new approach was used to evaluate the Wisconsin bioenergetics model for lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush). Lake trout in laboratory tanks were fed alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus) and rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax), prey typical of lake trout in Lake Michigan. Food consumption and growth by lake trout during the experiment were measured. Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) concentrations of the alewife and rainbow smelt, as well as of the lake trout at the beginning and end of the experiment, were determined. From these data, we calculated that lake trout retained 81% of the PCBs contained within their food. In an earlier study, application of the Wisconsin lake trout bioenergetics model to growth and diet data for lake trout in Lake Michigan, in conjunction with PCB data for lake trout and prey fish from Lake Michigan, yielded an estimate of PCB assimilation efficiency from food of 81%. This close agreement in the estimates of efficiency with which lake trout retain PCBs from their food indicated that the bioenergetics model was furnishing accurate predictions of food consumption by lake trout in Lake Michigan.