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A patch perspective on summer habitat use by brown trout Salmo trutta in a high plains stream in Wyoming, USA
- O'Connor, R.R., Rahel, F.J.
- Ecology of freshwater fish 2009 v.18 no.3 pp. 473-480
- Salmo trutta, fish, global positioning systems, habitat preferences, habitats, humans, macrophytes, radio telemetry, streams, summer, wood, Wyoming
- We quantified the use of habitat patches by brown trout, Salmo trutta, during summer conditions in a plains stream in the western United States. A Global Positioning System was used to map discrete habitat patches (2-420 m²) consisting of macrophytes, wood accumulation, or deep water. Habitat use by brown trout was monitored by radio telemetry. Brown trout used habitat in a nonrandom manner with 99% of all daytime observations and 91% of all nighttime observations occurring in patches that consisted of combinations of deep water, wood accumulations or macrophytes even though such patches constituted only 9.8% of the available habitat. Brown trout used deep water almost exclusively during the day but broadened their habitat use at night. Most fish stayed within a large plunge pool created by a low-head dam. This pool supplemented the deep-water habitat that was naturally rare in our study area and illustrates how human modifications can sometimes create habitat patches important for stream fishes.