Non-native alewife and native rainbow smelt in Lake Champlain: a modeling approach to describe interactions and system-wide consequences


February 1, 2009 to January 31, 2012


In the past, rainbow smelt have been the main forage fish supporting the salmonid and walleye sport fisheries in Lake Champlain. With alewife now established in the lake, an epilimnetic larval fish predator has been added to the system that can change the seasonal dynamics of young-of-year rainbow smelt by increasing mortality during the summer. We need to understand the consequences of adding such a predator to Lake Champlain. This project will produce models that facilitate an understanding of the effects of alewife on forage fish dynamics and by extension, the larger system of Lake Champlain. This is needed for guiding future fisheries management actions. Specifically, the modesl will be useful for exploring potential options of future stocking levels and for the future mix of salmonid species.


Donna Parrish
Vermont Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Unit Leader and Research Professor, University of Vermont
Donna.Parrish [at]