• anadromous fishes;
  • life history;
  • riverine populations;
  • salmonids;
  • telemetry;
  • winter behaviour

By tagging north-Norwegian anadromous riverine Arctic charr Salvelinus alpinus and brown trout Salmo trutta with simple archival tags that measured ambient water temperature and relating the recordings to the temperature in the surrounding environments, it was demonstrated that 91% of the S. trutta and 80% of the S. alpinus utilized the estuarine and marine environment during the winter. There was large individual variation in migratory behaviour. Salvelinus alpinus on average entered the estuary on 12 January and the marine environment on 26 February, had continuous marine migrations lasting up to 55 days, and spent on average 40 days in the estuary and 25 days in the sea during the winter. The corresponding numbers for S. trutta were 15 December and 4 January for first entry in the estuary and sea, maximum 39 days in the marine environment and average number of days in the estuary and sea were 34 and 50. Most individuals of both species frequently shifted between the three habitats. These findings thus contradict previous studies conducted on lake-dwelling populations, which suggested that northern populations of both species solely overwinter in fresh water. The use of inexpensive temperature recording archival tags gave detailed continuous information on seasonal migrations between habitats with different thermal characteristics.