A model of steelhead movement in relation to water temperature in two Lake Michigan tributaries

Publication Date



adult, behavior, Great Lakes, migration, steelhead, upstream

Journal or Book Title

Transactions of the American Fisheries Society


We used movement data from two Lake Michigan tributaries to develop a new approach for analyzing upstream adult steelhead migration. Our data included 28 radio-tagged steelhead Oncorhynchus mykiss in the Pere Marquette River and a larger (5,876-10,083-steelhead), multiyear (1993-1999) data set of camera-recorded steelhead passages through a fishway on the St. Joseph River. To quantitatively predict the probability of upstream movement, our model used a rule for temperature-based movements developed from the data. Exponential, logistic, and power functions were evaluated as possible ways to express the probability of movement. Of these, the power function resulted in the closest fit between observed and predicted movements. The probability of movement increased with increasing water temperatures above a movement-threshold water temperature. Stream flow was incorporated into the temperature-based movement (TBM) model but did not add substantially to the model's ability to describe the migratory behavior of steelhead in the Pere Marquette and St. Joseph rivers. The TBM modeling approach is broadly applicable and transferable to other Great Lakes tributaries and may work well for describing the migratory behavior of other species having migrations that depend on water temperature







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