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Smoltification


A few important points:

 * The above anadromous behavior is common in the northern latitudes where the ocean environment is often more productive than stream environments.  Anadromous salmonids take advantage of both environments while in their different life stages. 

 * Smoltification only facilitates the transition that young salmonids make between fresh and salt water, it doesn't cause the movement. 

 * To this day, steelhead and salmon in the Great Lakes have retained this anadromous migratory behavior of their ancestral populations, but use the lakes to mature.  It is theorized that upon reaching the Great Lakes, steelhead will  reverse their smoltification process to maintain themselves in freshwater, due to the increased forage available to them which satisfy their increased metabolic demands. 
 
 


* This is a scale taken from a Lake Huron rainbow trout measuring 18.6 in.  It illustrates the differences in stream and lake growth due to the increase in food items available to it once it entered the lake.  Notice the increase width of the bands in the lake growth portion.  This is due to the  increase in growth rate. 

This illustration was taken from the following source:
MacCrimmon, H. R. and B. L. Gots.  1972.  Rainbow trout in the Great Lakes.  Sport Fisheries Branch, Ministry of Natural
                    Resources, Ontario.  66 pp.
 
 
 
 
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