Energetic factors influencing foraging tactics of juvenile steelhead trout, Salmo gairdneri

  • Jerry J. Smith
  • Hiram W. Li
Part of the Developments in environmental biology of fishes book series (DEBF, volume 2)


Increases in water temperature and fish size should increase standard metabolism and food demand. Stream-dwelling trout may then, despite the increased cost of swimming, seek faster water where food is more abundant. We tested these predictions with juvenile steelhead trout, Salmo gairdneri, in a California stream and found that increased fish size and water temperatures did result in the increased selection of microhabitats with high water velocities. Faster water provided proportionally larger amounts of drifting invertebrate food. Higher velocity, shallower, and coarser substrate microhabitats also enabled fish to capture prey from portions of the water column substantially faster and more productive than at their resting positions. Velocities selected in this stream were similar to those which would result in a doubling of metabolic rate. Models evaluating trout habitat and effects of modifications should take energetic factors into account.


Drift Flow Growth Metabolism Microhabitat Satiation Substrate Swimming Temperature Velocity 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References cited

  1. Alley, D.W. 1977. The energetic significance of microhabitat selection by fishes in a foothill Sierra stream. M.Sc. Thesis, University of California, Davis. 267 pp.Google Scholar
  2. Baldes, R.J. & R.E. Vincent. 1969. Physical parameters of microhabitats occupied by brown trout in an experimental flume. Trans. Amer. Fish. Soc. 98: 230–238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Beamish, F.W.H. 1964. Respiration of fishes with emphasis on standard oxygen consumption. Can. J. Zool. 42: 177–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Binns, N.A. & F.M. Eiserman. 1979. Quantification of fluvial trout habitat in Wyoming. Trans. Amer. Fish. Soc. 108: 215–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brett, J.R. & N.R. Glass. 1973. Metabolic rates and critical swimming speeds of sockeye salmon (Orcorhynchus nerka) in relation to size and temperature. J. Fish. Res. Board Can. 30: 379–387.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chapman, D.W. & T.C. Bjornn. 1969. Distribution of salmonids in streams with special reference to food and feeding, pp. 153–176. In: T.G. Northcote (ed.) Symposium on Salmon and Trout in Streams, Univ. of British Columbia, Vancouver.Google Scholar
  7. Dettman, D.H. 1978. Distribution, abundance and microhabitat segregation of rainbow trout and Sacramento squawfish in Deer Creek, California. M.Sc. Thesis, University of California, Davis. 40 pp.Google Scholar
  8. Elliot, J.M. 1973. The food of brown and rainbow trout (Salmo trutta and S. gairdneri) in relation to the abundance of drifting invertebrates in a mountain stream. Oecologia 12: 329–347.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Elliot, J.M. 1975. Weight of food and time required to satiate brown trout Salmo trutta L. Freshwat. Biol. 5: 51–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Elliot, J.M. 1979. Energetics of freshwater teleosts. Symp. Zool. Soc. Lond. 44: 29–61.Google Scholar
  11. Everest, F.H. & D.W. Chapman. 1972. Habitat selection and spatial interaction by juvenile chinook salmon and steelhead trout in two Idaho streams. J. Fish. Res. Board Can. 29: 91–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Jenkins, T.M., C.R. Feldmeth & G.V. Elliot. 1970. Feeding of rainbow trout (Salmo gairdneri) in relation to abundance of drifting invertebrates in a mountain stream. J. Fish. Res. Board Can. 27: 2356–2361.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Lewis, S.L. 1969. Physical factors influencing fish populations in pools of a trout stream. Trans. Amer. Fish. Soc. 98: 14–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Main, R.B. 1978. Habitat program user manual. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Denver. 83 pp.Google Scholar
  15. Smith, J.J. 1982. Fishes of the Pajaro River system. Studies on the distribution and ecology of stream fishes of the Sacramento-San Joaquin drainage system, pp. 83–169. In: P.B. Moyle (ed.) Smith, J.J. 115, Berkeley.Google Scholar
  16. Stalnaker, C.B. 1979. The use of habitat structure preferenda for establishing flow regimes necessary for maintenance of fish habitat, pp. 321–337. In: J.V. Ward & J.A. Stanford (ed.) The Ecology of Regulated Streams, Plenum Press, New York.Google Scholar
  17. Tippets, W.E. & P.B. Moyle. 1978. Epibenthic feeding by rainbow trout (Salmo gairdneri) in the McCloud River, California. J. Anim. Ecol. 47: 549–559.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Wankowski, J.W.J. & J.E. Thorpe. 1979. Spatial distribution and feeding in atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L. juveniles. J. Fish. Biol. 14: 239–247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ware, D.M. 1978. Bioenergetics of pelagic fish: theoretical change in swimming speed and ration with body size. J. Fish. Res. Board Can. 35: 220–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Waters, T.F. 1972. The drift of stream insects. Ann. Rev. Entomol. 17: 253–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Weihs, D. 1973. Optimal cruising speed for migrating fish. Nature 245: 48–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Winberg, G.G. 1956. Rate of metabolism and food requirements of fishes. Belorussian State Univ., Minsk (Fish. Res. Board Can., Transl. Ser. 194: 1–253).Google Scholar
  23. Windeil, J.T. 1971. Food analysis and rate of digestion, pp. 215–226. In: W.E. Ricker (ed.) Methods for Assessment of Fish Production in Freshwaters, IBP Handbook 3, Blackwell, London.Google Scholar
  24. Windell, J.T., J.F. Kitchell D.O. Norris, J.S. Norris & J.W. Foltz. 1976. Temperature and rate of gastric evacuation by rainbow trout, Salmo gairdneri. Trans. Amer. Fish. Soc. 105: 712–717.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Dr W. Junk Publishers, The Hague 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jerry J. Smith
    • 1
  • Hiram W. Li
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiologySan Jose State UniversitySan JoseUSA
  2. 2.Oregon Cooperative Fishery Research UnitOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA

Personalised recommendations