What happened to Lake Champlain's native trout?

December 6, 2012 by Joshua E. Brown

Scientists identify it as Salvelinus namaycush. Other names include mackinaw, lake char, touladi, togue, siscowet, and paperbelly. Lots of people call it, simply, a lake trout. It's a freshwater fish found in many northern lakes in North America.

In Lake Champlain, lake trout spawn at several reefs. Ellen Marsden, UVM professor of fisheries, has found extremely high densities of trout eggs and young fish (called fry) at these spawning sites.

But that's where the happy story seems to end. Annual assessments of adult lake trout reveal that nearly all them are clipped; that means they were born in state fish hatcheries. There appears to be nearly zero natural reproduction of lake trout in Lake Champlain. That's worrisome to and —and expensive too.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

Ellen Marsden and her students have been searching for more than a decade trying to figure out why. They've gone down in scuba gear and paddled in boats. This year, they got Zippy, a tiny orange submarine (or ROV for remotely operated vehicle) to help them in the search for answers.

Explore further: Sea lamprey up in Lake Superior

Related Stories

Sea lamprey up in Lake Superior

August 27, 2005

The number of sea lamprey has nearly doubled in western Lake Superior in the past year, according to Minnesota and U.S. wildlife officials.

Study finds way to cut sea lamprey numbers

October 3, 2005

Minnesota scientists say they've found a way to reduce sea lamprey populations in the Great Lakes by attracting them to areas where they can be sterilized.

Recommended for you

Trade in invasive plants is blossoming

October 3, 2015

Every day, hundreds of different plant species—many of them listed as invasive—are traded online worldwide on auction platforms. This exacerbates the problem of uncontrollable biological invasions.

Ancestral background can be determined by fingerprints

September 28, 2015

A proof-of-concept study finds that it is possible to identify an individual's ancestral background based on his or her fingerprint characteristics – a discovery with significant applications for law enforcement and anthropological ...

Bat species found to have tongue pump to pull in nectar

September 28, 2015

(Phys.org)—A trio of researchers affiliated with the University of Ulm in Germany and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama has found that one species of bat has a method of collecting nectar that has never ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.