Severity of summer drought as predictor for smolt recruitment in migratory brown trout (Salmo trutta )

Henrik Jespersen*, Gorm Rasmussen, Stig Pedersen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The recruitment of anadromous brown trout smolt from a small Baltic stream, fre-quently exposed to summer drought, was quantified for 9 years, and the effect from drought on smolt number and age composition analysed. Drought was quantified by, (a) a newly developed index quantifying the severity of summer drought (Drought Severity Index—DSI—based on amount of precipitation, monthly mean temperature and number of hours with sun), and (b) the amount of precipitation. Both DSI and precipitation were measured 1 or 2 years prior to emigration. We found significant (negative) relations between DSI (1 year before emigration) and both the total number of smolt, and the number of age 1 smolt. In addition, precipitation was (positively) related to total number of smolt, but DSI proved to be a stronger predic-tor compared to precipitation. In addition to drought, our results support a negative influence from older parr on the survival of age 0 trout. Our results indicate that re-cruitment of brown trout smolt from streams, regularly affected by summer drought, may be predicted approx. 6 months before the actual emigration the following spring. This offers an opportunity for managers to adapt protective measures in accordance with local and temporal changes in recruitment.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEcology of Freshwater Fish
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)115-124
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Adaptive management
  • Anadromous brown trout
  • Climate change
  • Drought
  • Smolt recruitment


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