On the various ways that anadromous salmonids use lake habitats to complete their life history

Robert J. Lennox*, Ulrich Pulg, Brendan Malley, Sven-Erik Gabrielsen, Erlend Mjelde Hanssen, Steven J. Cooke, Kim Birnie-Gauvin, Bjørn T. Barlaup, Knut Wiik Vollset

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Despite the preponderance of exorheic lakes in rivers home to anadromous salmonids, little research has focused on how salmon, trout, and char use lakes as part of their anadromous life histories. The literature on this subject has so far revealed that some parr move into lakes to feed and grow before smoltification but that smolts moving through lakes tend to have high mortality in disproportion to what is observed in other habitats they migrate in or through. Adults have been observed using lakes for behavioural thermoregulation prior to spawning, and kelts of iteroparous species often exploit lakes to overwinter before returning to sea to recondition. We summarized knowledge on lakes as salmonid habitat and identified knowledge gaps about the use of lakes by anadromous salmonids related to whether lakes are barriers that structure genetics of populations, whether mortality in lakes is compensatory or additive, and whether systems with lakes have higher rates of repeat spawning among iteroparous salmonids. Human activities that alter lakes require further study to understand how changes in temperature, oxygen, ice, or circulation affect navigation and fate.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Pages (from-to)90-100
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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