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New Project: Tagging Chinook Salmon in Lake Ontario

Jim Watkins, Lars Rudstam, Chris Perle (Florida St. College), Michael Connerton (NY DEC). Funded by New York Sea Grant. 

Chinook Salmon provide an exciting and economic recreational fishery in Lake Ontario. Mass fin clipping programs of stocked fish indicate that individual fish travel extensively and unclipped fish indicate that natural reproduction is common. However, a detailed understanding of the depth and thermal habitats fish experience offshore in search of alewife prey has eluded us. We have proposed to use state of the art tagging technology (pop-off satellite archival tags or PSATs) to track individual fish over several months. We expect salmon to vertically migrate during summer stratification from the surface at night to thermocline depths during the day in pursuit of alewife prey. Scientists will collaborate with charter boat crews with their extensive acquired knowledge in collecting fish and direct observations. Tag data will be compared to routine hydrographic and acoustic monitoring of thermal structure and the distribution of zooplankton, mysid shrimp, and alewife.