The Drummond Island Refuge (DIR) was established in 1985 as part of the rehabilitation effort for lake trout Salvelinus namaycush in Lake Huron. Since then, several strains of hatchery-reared lake trout have been stocked annually at the DIR. An intensive lampricide treatment of the St. Marys River during 1998-2001 was expected to lower the abundance of sea lamprey Petromyzon marinus within the DIR by 2000. We conducted annual gill-net surveys during spring and fall to evaluate the performance of each of the strains of lake trout as well as that of the entire lake trout population (all strains pooled) in the DIR during 1991-2005. The criteria to evaluate performance included the proportion of "wild" fish within the population, spawner density, adult survival, growth, maturity, and wounding rate by sea lampreys. Wild lake trout did not recruit to the adult population to any detectable degree. During 1991-2005, the average density of spawning lake trout appeared to be marginally sufficient to initiate a self-sustaining population. Survival of the Seneca Lake (SEN) strain of lake trout was significantly higher than that of the Superior-Marquette (SUP) strain, in part because of the higher sea-lamprey-induced mortality suffered by the SUP strain. However, other factors were also involved. Apparently SUP fish were more vulnerable to fishing conducted in waters near the refuge boundaries than SEN fish. The St. Marys River treatment appeared to be effective in reducing the sea lamprey wounding rate on SEN fish. We recommend that the stocking of SEN lake trout in the DIR, control of sea lampreys in the St. Marys River, and reduction of commercial fishery effort in waters near the DIR be maintained. ?? Copyright by the American Fisheries Society 2008.
Additional publication details
Lake trout population dynamics at Drummond Island Refuge in Lake Huron: Implications for future rehabilitation