What happened to Lake Champlain's native trout?

Dec 06, 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: Law of the Sea authorizes animal tagging research without nations' consent

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Sea lamprey up in Lake Superior

Aug 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

Oct 03, 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

How can we help endangered vultures?

Oct 24, 2014

Zoologists from the School of Natural Sciences at Trinity College Dublin are proposing an ingenious idea to help conserve populations of African white-backed vultures. The iconic birds, which play a critical ...

Scientists work to save endangered desert mammal

Oct 24, 2014

Amargosa voles, small rodents that inhabit rare marshes of the Mojave Desert, have faced dire circumstances in recent years. Loss of habitat, extreme drought and climate change brought this subspecies of ...

User comments : 0