Survival of radio-tagged Atlantic salmon ( Salmo salar L.) and trout ( Salmo trutta L.) smolts passing a reservoir during seaward migration

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Abstract

High mortality-rates of seaward migrating salmonid smelts when passing reservoirs and lakes have earlier been found in the Danish River Gudena watershed. To reveal the causes of mortality of migrating smelts in Lake Tange, a 12 km long, shallow reservoir, 50 salmon smelts and 24 trout smelts were tagged with internal miniature radio-transmitters, and released in the river just upstream the reservoir on May 1, 1996. The salmon smelts were hatchery-reared, while the trout smelts were wild fish, caught in a smelt trap. The tagged smelts were tracked daily for 3 weeks, and when possible the cause of death was determined. During the 3-week period, 90% of the tagged smelts died. The main cause of death for both trout and salmon was predation from fish and birds. The most important predator was pike (Esox lucius L.), being responsible for 56% of the observed mortality. Avian predators were assumed to be responsible for 31% of the observed mortality. No trout smelts left the reservoir, but 5 salmon-smelts got out through the turbines. Others did traverse the reservoir, but were unable to enter the river downstream, and were later eaten. The present results suggest that mortalities for migrating smolts through Lake Tange are of such a magnitude, that stocking of juveniles in the river upstream is futile, and further, that the establishment of a natural population of salmon or sea-trout in river Gudena, upstream Tange, is unrealistic under present conditions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHydrobiologia
Volume371-372
Issue number0
Pages (from-to)347-353
ISSN0018-8158
Publication statusPublished - 1998

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