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Durham University

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Publication details for Dr Martyn Lucas

Schwinn, M., Baktoft, H., Aarestrup, K., Lucas, M.C. & Koed, A. (2018). Telemetry observations of predation and migration behaviour of brown trout (Salmo trutta) smolts negotiating an artificial lake. River Research and Applications 34(8): 898-906.

Author(s) from Durham


Eutrophication of coastal areas as a consequence of the agricultural use of fertilizers is a widespread problem. The development of artificial lakes and constructed wetlands in nutrient‐rich rivers is a widely used management tool in the fight to decrease eutrophication. Juvenile salmonids that have to negotiate these lakes during their downstream migration to the sea are commonly subjected to high mortality due to increased predation pressure and delayed passage. In this study, we double tagged 39 brown trout smolts with passive integrated transponder and radio tags to gain further insight into predation rates and migration patterns during their passage of an artificial lake in a Danish lowland stream in the spring of 2016. Thirty‐four of the tagged smolts, caught and released upstream, entered the lake, of which 22 (65%) successfully exited the lake. Four smolts (12%) returned upstream to the river. Three smolts were predated in the lake by two northern pike (Esox lucius). Three tags were recovered from the lake bottom, and two disappeared out of the study area after a last detection in the lake. Tracking the smolts manually and by automatic listening stations showed highly erratic movement patterns during lake passage. Further, we observed long delays of up to 27 days after the smolts reached the river mouth and before they entered the sea, potentially due to low sea water temperature or due to the stocking of a large amount of hatchery‐reared brown trout smolts. The results are discussed in the context of abiotic and biotic factors, which differed considerably in the year 2016 compared with previous years.