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Winter habitat of selected stream fishes and potential impacts from land-use activity

, : Winter habitat of selected stream fishes and potential impacts from land-use activity. Canadian Journal of Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences 53(SUPPL 1): 267-282

This paper reviews the habitat characteristics and the behaviour of selected stream fishes during winter in temperate-boreal ecosystems. Emphasis is placed on the salmonid fishes upon which most winter research has been directed. As space is the primary factor regulating stream fish populations in winter, aspects of winter habitat are considered at various spatial scales from microhabitat to stream reach to river basin. Choice of winter habitat is governed by the need to minimize energy expenditure, with the main criterion being protection from adverse physicochemical conditions (e.g., ice, spates, low oxygen). The distance moved to wintering habitats, and the continued activity by many fishes during winter, need to be considered when making management decisions regarding fish habitat. How habitat is affected by land-use activity in stream catchments is discussed with reference to impacts from water withdrawal, varying discharge regimes, and erosion or sedimentation. Even stream "enhancement" practices can deleteriously affect fish habitat if project managers are unaware of winter habitat requirements and stream conditions. Maintenance of habitat complexity, at least at the scale of stream sub-basin, is recommended to ensure the diversity of winter habitats for fish communities.


DOI: 10.1139/f95-275

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