Brown trout spawning habitat selection preferences and redd characteristics in the Credit River, Ontario
Brown trout Salmo trutta redds in the Credit River, Ontario, were enumerated and assessed for physical, location and cover feature characteristics during the 2002 spawning season. Hydraulic habitats were classified on the basis of channel morphology and availability recorded. Combined use and availability data were used to assess habitat selection preferences and test for significant differences. Significant preferences for upstream pool and riffle habitat were found, but all available habitat types were used to some degree. Non‐preferred habitat redds were significantly larger than those located in preferred habitats and more likely to be found in association with woody debris cover. Larger redds were interpreted as indicative of larger fish. The use of non‐preferred downstream habitats by larger fish was further interpreted in the context of overwinter habitat requirements to reflect possible trade‐offs between reproductive and adult over‐winter survival requirements resulting in the selection of habitat for multiple life‐history functions. Results suggest that redd density alone should not be used to infer critical autumn habitat requirements for brown trout.
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