Restoration of lake trout Salvelinus namaycush stocks in Lake Huron is a fish community objective developed to promote sustainable fish communities in the lake. Between 1985 and 2004, 12.65 million lake trout were stocked into Lake Huron representing eight different genetic strains. Collections of bona fide wild fish in USGS surveys have increased in recent years and this study examined the ancestry and diet of fish collected between 2004 and 2006 to explore the ecological role they occupy in Lake Huron. Analysis of microsatellite DNA revealed that both pure strain and inter-strain hybrids were observed, and the majority of fish were classified as Seneca Lake strain or Seneca Lake hybrids. Diets of 50 wild age-0 lake trout were examined. Mysis, chironomids, and zooplankton were common prey items of wild age-0 lake trout. These results indicate that stocked fish are successfully reproducing in Lake Huron indicating a level of restoration success. However, continued changes to the benthic macroinvertebrate community, particularly declines of Mysis, may limit growth and survival of wild fish and hinder restoration efforts.
Additional publication details
Heritage strain and diet of wild young of year and yearling lake trout in the main basin of Lake Huron