Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 87, Issue 2, pp 101–111 | Cite as

Seasonal variation in diel behaviour and habitat use by age 1+ Steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in Coast and Cascade Range streams in Oregon, U.S.A.

  • Gordon H. ReevesEmail author
  • Jon B. Grunbaum
  • Dirk W. Lang


The seasonal diel behaviour of age 1+ steelhead from Coast and Cascade Range streams in Oregon was examined in the field and in laboratory streams. During the summer, fish from both areas were active during the day in natural streams: they held position in the water column in moderate velocities and depths. At night, fish were in slower water, closer to the bottom above smaller substrates. In winter, diel behaviour differed between the two groups. Coastal fish exhibited behaviour similar to that observed in the summer. Cascade Range fish were not observed during the day, but were found at night, holding positions close to the bottom in slower water. In laboratory streams, fish from both regions were subjected to a decreasing temperature regime from 16°C to 2°C. Use of cover for concealment during the day was negatively correlated with water temperatures for both groups. However, the shelter-seeking response to declining water temperatures was significantly greater for Cascade fish than it was for coastal fish. Field and laboratory observations of diel behaviour support the hypothesis that steelhead from the two geographic regions have different adaptive strategies for winter conditions and that these differences, because they persisted even in laboratory conditions, are probably genetically based.


Steelhead trout Seasonal diel behavior 



A. Atkins, B. Campbell, C. Dewberry, D. Moore, F. Vasser, D. Price, and J. Ziedler helped with field work. D. Olsen, H. Li, and R. Beschta reviewed the first versions of this manuscript. Comments by J. Rosenfield and three anonymous reviewers contributed to improvements in the manuscript. K. Burnett provided guidance with statistical analyses. K. Ronnenberg produced the graphics and provided editorial support. Financial support for this study was provided by the USDA Forest Service, Aquatic and Land Interaction Program, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Corvallis, Oregon.


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Copyright information

© US Government 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gordon H. Reeves
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jon B. Grunbaum
    • 2
  • Dirk W. Lang
    • 3
  1. 1.Pacific Northwest Research StationUSDA Forest ServiceCorvallisUSA
  2. 2.USDA Forest ServiceHappy CampUSA
  3. 3.USDA Forest ServiceCordovaUSA

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