Summer habitat use by Columbia River redband trout in the Kootenai River drainage, Montana

North American Journal of Fisheries Management
By:  and 

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Abstract

The reported decline in the abundance, distribution, and genetic diversity of Columbia River redband trout Oncorhynchus mykiss gairdneri (a rainbow trout subspecies) has prompted fisheries managers to investigate their habitat requirements, identify critical habitat, and develop effective conservation and recovery programs. We analyzed the microhabitat, mesohabitat, and macrohabitat use and distribution of Columbia River redband trout by means of snorkel surveys in two watersheds in the Kootenai River drainage, Montana and Idaho, during the summers of 1997 and 1998. Juvenile (36–125 mm total length, TL) and adult (>=126 mm TL) fish preferred deep microhabitats (>=0.4 m) with low to moderate velocities (<=0.5 m/s) adjacent to the thalweg. Conversely, age-0 (<=35 mm) fish selected slow water (<=0.1 m/s) and shallow depths (<=0.2 m) located in lateral areas of the channel. Age-0, juvenile, and adult fish strongly selected pool mesohabitats and avoided riffles; juveniles and adults generally used runs in proportion to their availability. At the macrohabitat scale, density of Columbia River redband trout (35 mm) was positively related to the abundance of pools and negatively related to stream gradient. The pool: riffle ratio, gradient, and stream size combined accounted for 80% of the variation in density among 23 stream reaches in five streams. Our results demonstrate that low-gradient, medium-elevation reaches with an abundance of complex pools are critical areas for the production of Columbia River redband trout. These data will be useful in assessing the impacts of land-use practices on the remaining populations and may assist with habitat restoration or enhancement efforts.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Summer habitat use by Columbia River redband trout in the Kootenai River drainage, Montana
Series title North American Journal of Fisheries Management
DOI 10.1577/1548-8675(2001)021<0223:SHUBCR>2.0.CO;2
Volume 21
Issue 1
Year Published 2001
Language English
Publisher American Fisheries Society
Contributing office(s) Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center
Description 13 p.
First page 223
Last page 235
Country United States
State Montana
Other Geospatial Kootenai River
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N