Age, growth, and diet of fish in the Waldo Lake natural-cultural system Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/vd66w376k

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  • Waldo Lake, located in the Oregon Cascades, is considered to be one of the most dilute lakes in the world. Even with very low nutrient concentrations and sparse populations of zooplankton, introduced fish in the lake are large in size and in good condition when compared to fish from other lakes. Fish were originally stocked in Waldo Lake in the late 1800's. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife began stocking in the late 1930's and continued stocking until 1991. Species existing in Waldo Lake today include brook trout, rainbow trout, and kokanee salmon. The overall objective of this thesis was to increase the understanding of the interrelationships that affect the age, growth, and diet of fish in Waldo Lake. The specific objectives were to summarize and synthesize available information on the substrate, climate, water, and biota of the Waldo Lake Basin; describe the cultural history and current cultural values of the Waldo Lake Basin; determine the age, growth, length, weight, condition, diet, and reproduction of introduced fish species in Waldo Lake; interrelate the above information to show how these components of the natural-cultural system are related. Fish were collected one week per month from early June through mid-October in 1992 and 1993. Variable mesh experimental gillnets set in nearshore areas were used to capture fish in 1992. During the 1993 sampling period, experimental gillnets and trapnets were set in the nearshore areas of the lake. Relative age specific growth rates of brook trout in Waldo Lake are comparable to brook trout growth rates in other lakes. Brook trout growth rates generally decreased with age, however, there were no significant differences in the growth rate of each age class between 1991 and 1993. The condition of brook trout in Waldo Lake is also comparable to brook trout in other lakes. The same is true for rainbow trout and kokanee salmon. Fish in Waldo Lake are large in size and in good condition due, in part, to the availability of benthic macroinvertebrates. Taxa found in stomach contents of fish captured in Waldo Lake consisted primarily of aquatic benthic macroinvertebrates, but terrestrial vertebrates and vertebrates, although infrequently consumed, were also part of the total diet. Rainbow trout in Waldo Lake consumed primarily chironomidae larvae and pupae although odonata larvae, ephemeroptera larvae, and amphipods were also consumed. Kokanee salmon fed almost exclusively on chironomid larvae although small numbers of ephemeroptera larvae, odonata larvae, and coleoptera were also consumed. The most important macroinvertebrate taxon consumed by Waldo Lake brook trout was chironomid larvae and pupae, although other species also were important. The diet of Waldo Lake brook trout varied in a complex way that appeared to be related to the relative abundance of macroinvertebrate taxa, feeding location in the lake, and time of year. Brook trout diet also varied by size class. The components of the Waldo Lake natural-cultural system are complexly interrelated and the nature of these relationships are constantly changing. Each component in some way affects and is, in turn, affected by each of the other components. Changes in some components, such as substrate, affect other components along geologic time scales. Other components, such human culture and biota, may change rapidly within a decade. The capacity of natural-cultural systems, such as Waldo Lake, to change over time makes it possible to view the present state of the system only as a snapshot in time. This dynamic nature of the Waldo Lake natural-cultural system is not unique to Waldo Lake, but is expressed in all natural- cultural systems.
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