Date of this Version
The Prairie Naturalist • 48(1): June 2016
In the early 2000’s, declines in the brown trout (Salmo trutta) fishery in Rapid Creek, South Dakota, caused concern for anglers and fisheries managers. We conducted a radio telemetry study in 2010 and 2011 to identify predation mortality associated with mink, using hatchery-reared (2010) or wild (2011) brown trout. Estimated predation rates by mink (Mustela vison) on radio-tagged brown trout were 30% for hatchery fish and 32% for wild fish. Size frequency analysis revealed that the size distribution of brown trout lost to predation was similar to that of other, radio-tagged brown trout. In both years, a higher proportion of predation mortality (83–92%) occurred during spring, consistent with seasonal fish consumption by mink. Predation by mink appeared to be a significant source of brown trout mortality in our study.