Sea trout in North Argyll sea lochs: II. diet



The diet of sea trout in some of the sea lochs of the west coast of Scotland was investigated. The contents of 986 sea trout stomachs from the Loch Etive area (1970–1973), and 291 stomachs from the Loch Eil area (1964–1973), were examined and the composition of the diet, seasonal changes and the effect of trout size were analysed using frequency of occurrence, dry weight and number of organisms methods. Benthic feeding (crustacea and annelids) was more important in winter while midwater and surface organisms (young fish and insects) were preferred in summer. Young fish (mainly clupeids and sand eels) featured more in the diet of larger trout (≤21 cm) than in the smaller size range (≥21 cm). Surveys of 24-h were completed in June and September, 1972, and indicated that availability of food was the main factor influencing the presence or absence of trout. Bottom feeding was greatest during the day while the amount of midwater and surface feeding tended to increase between sunset and sunrise.