Assessment of lake trout spawning habitat in the Great Lakes using satellite remote sensing

Document Type

Conference Paper/Presentation

Publication Date



The utility of satellite remote sensing for identifying spawning grounds actively used by lake trout Salvelinus namaycush was evaluated. The locations of spawning grounds were inferred based on behavioral observations of spawning trout, which have been reported to select clean cobble for spawning and sometimes to further clean the substrate before egg laying. Areas with these characteristics were classified in Pléiades multispectral satellite imagery collected before and after the beginning of the 2013 spawning season based on the brightness of bottom reflectance before the beginning of spawning and the change in brightness after spawning began. While the distribution of field data limited the assessment of the ability to distinguish among degrees of vegetation density and detect changes in vegetation density over time, a binomial regression model based on the above characteristics was reasonably accurate at predicting the locations of active spawning areas as confirmed by egg survey data. Combined with recent findings on the geological formations associated with lake trout spawning, vegetation mapping and change detection represents a new potential tool for locating spawning habitat.

Publisher's Statement

© 2015 The authors.

Publication Title

IAGLR 58th Annual Conference on Great Lakes Research