Evidence of a remnant self-sustaining strain of lake trout in the Lake Michigan basin.

Jory L. Jonas, Kyle J. Broadway, Laura Mathews, Tracy L. Galarowicz, Kevin L. Pangle, Andrew M. Muir, Kim T. Scribner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Managers have long embraced the need to maintain diversity as a requisite condition for population and community sustainability. In the case of Great Lakes lake trout, diversity has been severely compromised. The identification of new gamete sources may be beneficial to lake trout reintroduction efforts, particularly in situations where native stocks have been completely extirpated such as in Lake Michigan. Lake trout from Elk Lake, Michigan, are genetically distinct from domestic hatchery strains and historical forms of lake trout from Lake Michigan. Importantly, Elk Lake fish were genetically distinct from Marquette strain lake trout which were previously stocked into Elk Lake. Elk Lake fish were most similar to Lake Michigan basin-derived Lewis Lake (LLW) and Green Lake (GLW) hatchery strains and to historical Lake Michigan populations from the Charlevoix, Michigan area. While all individuals exhibited characteristics of lean form lake trout, the body shape of lake trout from Elk Lake, stocked lean fish from Lake Michigan and Lake Superior wild lean strains from near Isle Royale differed. Elk Lake fish were more fusiform, elongate, and streamlined with a narrower caudal peduncle compared to hatchery lean strains and wild lean forms from the Isle Royale region of Lake Superior. The lake trout population in Elk Lake is a remnant of a now extirpated native Lake Michigan population that was established either by natural colonization or stocking from historical Lake Michigan populations. Elk Lake lake trout is as genetically diverse as other strains used in Great Lakes reintroduction efforts and likely represent a viable gamete source representing genetic diversity lost from Lake Michigan.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-162
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Great Lakes Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • Elk Lake
  • Genetics
  • Great Lakes
  • Lake Michigan
  • Lake trout
  • Morphometrics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology


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