The influence of water depths and inter-specific interactions on cover responses of juvenile Atlantic salmon


R. J. Gibson, Fisheries and Oceans, P.O. Box 5667, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, A1C 5X1 Canada; e-mail:


Abstract  – The responses of salmon parr, Salmo salar, to instream cover, related to several water depths, were tested in an ellipsoidal stream tank. Opaque plastic covers, most of which were 20 cm in length and 16 cm high, were randomly distributed through the tank, occupying about 3% of the bottom area. Six salmon parr were used for each experiment. In experiments with channel depths of 40 cm, the proportion of salmon under covers was 36.4%, at 30 cm 60.7%, and at 20 cm, 79.4%. Presence of similar-sized brown trout, Salmo trutta, increased the use of covers in channels and greater use of the pool area by salmon. The salmon were completely dominated by the trout, making about four times more more aggressive than salmon. Our findings show that water depth itself provides cover for young salmon.