As part of a broader investigation into the effects of creosote treatments on the aquatic biota in pond microcosms, we examined the possible implications for vitellogenin (Vtg) production in Oncorhynchus mykiss [rainbow trout (RT)]. Vtg is the precursor of egg yolk protein and has emerged as a useful biomarker of exposure to estrogenic substances. Our a priori intent was to assess the ability of the creosote treatments (nominal cresoste concentrations were 0, 3, and 10 ??l/L immediately after the last subsurface addition) to induce estrogenic responses in RT. The data showed no evidence of an estrogenic response in the treated fish. During the course of the experiment, however, the fish matured and began to produce Vtg, probably in response to endogenous estrogen. A posteriori analysis of the Vtg data from the maturing fish showed that after 28 days, the plasma Vtg concentrations were about 15-fold lower in fish from the creosote-treated microcosms compared with fish from the reference microcosm. Although the experiment design does not permit mechanistic insights, our observation suggests that exposure of female fish to PAH mixtures such as creosote can impair the production of Vtg with possible health implications for embryos and larvae. ?? 2006 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.