Mid-winter activity and movement of Atlantic salmon parr during ice formation events in a Norwegian regulated river

  • Morten Stickler
  • Knut Alfredsen
  • David A. Scruton
  • Curtis Pennell
  • Atle Harby
  • Finn Økland
Part of the Developments in Hydrobiology 195 book series (DIHY, volume 195)


A telemetry study in a Norwegian regulated river was conducted through a 12-day period in mid-winter 2003. The objective was to study activity (defined as number of movement per hour) and movement (defined as distance moved per hour) during different ice formation events. Twenty-four Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) parr were radio tagged and continuously monitored by both manually tracking (N = 24) and by fixed recording stations (N = 15). Detailed data on climate, flow and ice formation and its spatial distribution were collected and used in the analyses. Fish activity was not found to be affected by their size (L F). There was a significant difference in activity between diel periods with highest activity during dusk (5–6 p.m.). Between high and low flow (mean ± SD, 21.1 m3 s−1 ± 1.7 SD and 11.1 m3 s−1 ± 1.7 SD, respectively) no significant difference in activity was found. During the experiment extensive anchor ice growth occurred mainly in the riffle part with thickness up to 50 cm. Juveniles tend to avoid riffle section during anchor ice formation and exploited ice covered areas, indicating critical and preferable habitats respectively. Further, a significant difference in movement was found between five selected ice events with highest mean movement during an anchor ice event and lowest mean movement during an ice break up with no anchor ice formation. No significant difference in activity or movement between parr exposed to frazil ice and parr not exposed were found.


Winter habitat Atlantic salmon parr Salmo salarRadio telemetry River ice Frazil ice 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Adams, N. S., D. W. Rondorf, S. D. Evans, J. E. Kelly & R. W. Perry, 1998. Effects of surgically and gastrically implanted radio transmitters on swimming performance and predator avoidance of juvenile chinook salmon (Onchorhynchus tshawytscha). Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 55: 781–787.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alfredsen, K., 1997. A Modelling System for Estimation of Impacts on Fish Habitat. In Proceedings of the XXVIIth IAHR Congress. Environmental and Coastal Hydraulics: Protecting the Aquatic Habitat, Wang SSY, ASCE Publications.Google Scholar
  3. Alfredsen, K., M. Stickler, D. A. Scruton, C. J. Pennel, C. Kelley, J. H. Halleraker, A. Harby, H. P. Fjeldstad, J. Heggenes & F. Økland, 2004. A Telemetry Study of Winter Behaviour of Juvenile Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar) in a River with a Dynamic Ice Regime. Fifth Symposioum on Ecohydraulics. Aquatic habitats: Analysis & Restoration, Madrid, Spain, IAHR.Google Scholar
  4. Alfredsen, K. & E. Tesaker, 2002. Winter habitat assessment strategies and incorporatin of winter habitat in the Norwegian habitat assessment tools. Hydrological Processes 16: 927–936.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Annear, T. C., W. Hubert, D. Simpkins & L. Hebdon, 2002. Behavioural and phsyciological response of trout to winter habitat in tailwaters in Wyoming, USA. Hydrological Processes 16: 915–925.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Berland, G., T. Nickelsen, J. Heggenes, F. Økland, E. B. Thorstad & J. Halleraker, 2004. Movements of wild Atlantic salmon parr in relation to peaking flows below a hydropower station. River Research and Applications 20: 957–966.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bradford, M. J., 1997. An experimental study of stranding of juvenile salmonids on gravel bars and side channels during rapid flow decreases under winter conditions. Regulated Rivers 13: 395–401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bradford, M. J. & P. S. Higgins, 2001. Habitat, season- and size-specific variation in diel activity patterns of juvenile Chinok salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and steel head trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Can J Aquat. Sci 58: 365–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bradford, M. J., G. C. Taylor, J. A. Allan & P. A. Higgins, 1995. An experimental study of the juvenile coho salmon and rainbow trout during rapid flow decreases under winter conditions. North American Journal of Fisheries and Management 15: 473–479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bremset, G., 1999. Young Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) and brown trout (Salmo trutta L.) inhabiting the deep pool habitat, with special reference to their habitat use, habitat preferences and competitive interactions. Department of Biology. Trondheim, Norway, NTNU, dep. of zoology: 1–10.Google Scholar
  11. Bremset, G., 2000. Seasonal and diel changes in behaviour, microhabitat use and preferences by young pool-dwelling Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar, and brown trout, salmo trutta. Environmental Biology of Fishes 59: 163–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Brown, R. S. & W. C. Mackay, 1995. Fall and winter movements of and habitat use by cutthroat trout in the Ram River, Alberta. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 124: 873–885.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Brown, R. S., S. S. Stanislawski & W. C. Mackay, 1994. Effects of frazil ice on fish. Workshop on environ.aspects of river ice, Saskatoon, Canada, Enir. Canada, National Hydrology Research Institute.Google Scholar
  14. Cunjak, R. A., 1988. Behavior and microhabitat of young Atlantic Salmo (Salmo salar) during winter. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 45: 2156–2160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cunjak, R. A., 1996a. Winter habitat of selected stream fishes and potential impacts from land-use activity. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 53: 267–295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cunjak, R. A., 1996b. Winter habitat of selected stream fishes and potential impacts from land-use activity. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 53: 267–282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Cunjak, R. A. & G. Power, 1986. Winter habitat utilization by stream resident brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) and brown trout (Salmo trutta). Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 43: 1970–1981.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Cunjak, R. A., T. D. Prowse & D. L. Parrish, 1998. Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) in winter: “the season of parr discontent”? Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 55: 161–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. David, B. O. & G. P. Closs, 2001. Contionus remote monitoring of fish activity with restricted home ranges using radiotelemetry. Journal of Fish Biology 59: 705–715.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Finstad, A., T. Forseth, T. F. Næsje & O. Ugedal, 2004. The importance of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). Journal of Animal Ecology 73: 959–966.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Fraser, N. H. C. & N. B. Metcalfe, 1997. The costs of becoming nocturnal; feeding efficiency in relation to light intensity in juvenile Atlantic salmon. Functional Ecology 11: 385–391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fraser, N. H. C., N. B. Metcalfe & J. E. Thorpe, 1993. Tempereture dependent swithch between diurnal and nocturnal foraging salmon. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B. 252: 135–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gries, G., K. G. Whalen, F. Juanes, & D. L. Parrish, 1997. Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) in later summer; evidence for diel activity partitioning. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 54: 1408–1413.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Heggenes, J., O. M. W. Krog, O. R. Lindås, J. G. Dokk & T. Bremnes, 1993. Homeostatic behavioural responses in a changing environment: brown trout (Salmo trutta) become nocturnal during winter. Journal of Animal Ecology 62: 295–308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hiscock, M. J., D. A. Scruton, J. A. Brown & D. C. Clarke, 2002a. Winter movement of radio tagged juvenile Atlantic salmon on Northeast Brook, Newfoundland. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 131: 577–581.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hiscock, M. J., D. A. Scruton, J. A. Brown & C. J. Pennell, 2002b. Diel activity pattern of juvenile Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) in early and late winter. Hydrobiologia 483: 161–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Jakober, M. J., T. E. Mcmahon, R. F. Thurow & C. G. Clancy, 1998. Role of stream ice on fall and winter movements and habitat use by bull trout and cutthroat trout in Montana headwater streams. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 127: 223–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Matousek, V., 1984. Types of Ice Run and Conditions for their Formation. IAHR International Symposium on Ice, Hamburg, Germany.Google Scholar
  29. Moore, A., I. C. Russel & E. C. E. Potter, 1990. The effects of intraperiotoneally implanted dummy acoustic transmitters on the behaviour and physiology of juvenile Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar. Journal of Fish Biology 37: 713–721.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Power, G., R. A. Cunjak, J. Flannagan & C. Katopodis, 1993. Chapter 4: Biological Effects of River Ice in Encironmental Aspects of River Ice. National Hydrology Research Institute, Environment Canada.Google Scholar
  31. Robertson M. J., C. J. Pennel, D. A. Scruton, G. J. Robertson & J. A. Brown, 2004. Effect of increased flow on the behaviour of Atlantic salmon parr in winter. Journal of Fish Biology 65: 1070–1079.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Roussel J. M., R. A. Cunjak, R. Newbury, D. Caissie & A. Haro, 2004. Movements and habitat use by PIT-tagged Atlantic salmon in early winer: the influence of anchor ice. Freshwater Biology 49: 1026–1035.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Saltveit, S. J., J. Halleraker, J. V. Arnekleiv & A. Harby, 2001. Field experiments on stranding in juvenile Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and brown trout (Salmo trutta) from rapid flow decreases caused by hydropeaking. Journal of Regulated Rivers 17: 609–622.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Scruton, D. A., C. Pennell, L. M. N. Ollerhead, K. Alfredsen, M. Stickler, A. Harby, M. Robertson, K. D. Clarke & L. J. Ledrew, 2005. Movement of juvenile salmonids on diel and seasonal scales in response to experimental hydropeaking in Newfoundland, Canada. COST 626 European Aquatic Modellling Network, Silkeborg, Denmark. 19–21 May.Google Scholar
  35. Tack, E., 1938. Trout mortality from the formation of suspended ice crystals. Fisherei-Zeitung 41: 42.Google Scholar
  36. Tesaker, E., 1998. Mitigation of ice effects of the habitat in regulated and natural rivers. Proceedings of the 14th international symposium on ice, Potsdam/New york/USA.Google Scholar
  37. Tsang, G., 1982. Frazil and anchor ice, a monograph. Ottawa, National research counscil of Canada, Subcommitee on hydraulics of ice-covered rivers.Google Scholar
  38. Vehanen, T. & A. Huusko, 2002. Behaviour and habitat use of young-of-the-year Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) at the onset of winter in artificial streams. Hydrobiologia 154: 133–150.Google Scholar
  39. Whalen, K. G. & D. L. Parrish, 1999. Nocturnal habitat use of Atlantic salmon parr in winter. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 56: 1543–1550.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Whalen, K. G., D. L. Parrish & M. E. Mather, 1999. Effect of ice formation on selection of habitats and winter distribution of post-young-of-the-year Atlantic salmon parr in winter. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 56: 1543–1550.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Morten Stickler
    • 1
  • Knut Alfredsen
    • 1
  • David A. Scruton
    • 2
  • Curtis Pennell
    • 2
  • Atle Harby
    • 3
  • Finn Økland
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Hydraulic and Environmental EngineeringNorwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)TrondheimNorway
  2. 2.Fisheries and OceansSt. John’sCanada
  3. 3.SINTEF Energy Research, Water ResourcesTrondheimNorway
  4. 4.Norwegian Institute for Nature ResearchTrondheimNorway

Personalised recommendations