Seasonal habitat use of brook trout and juvenile steelhead in a Lake Ontario tributary

Journal of Freshwater Ecology
By: , and 



Brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) are generally restricted to headwaters in New York tributaries of Lake Ontario. In only a few streams are brook trout abundant in lower stream reaches that are accessible to adult Pacific salmonids migrating from the lake. Consequently, because of the rarity of native brook trout populations in these lower stream reaches it is important to understand how they use stream habitat in sympatry with juvenile Pacific salmonids which are now naturalized in several Lake Ontario tributaries. In this study, we examined the seasonal (spring, summer, and fall) habitat use of brook trout and juvenile steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in Hart Brook, a tributary of eastern Lake Ontario. We found interspecific, intraspecific, and seasonal variation in habitat use. Subyearling steelhead were associated with faster water velocities than subyearling brook trout and, overall, had the least habitat similarity to the other salmonid groups examined. Overyearling brook trout and yearling steelhead exhibited the greatest degree of habitat selection and habitat selection by all four salmonid groups was greatest in summer. The availability of pool habitat for overyearling salmonids may pose the largest impediment to these species in Hart Brook.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Seasonal habitat use of brook trout and juvenile steelhead in a Lake Ontario tributary
Series title Journal of Freshwater Ecology
DOI 10.1080/02705060.2015.1123655
Volume 31
Issue 2
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Contributing office(s) Great Lakes Science Center
Description 11 p.
First page 239
Last page 249
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