Characterization of resident rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) seasonal habitats in Willow Creek, Alaska.

Project Description

Resident rainbow trout are an important ecological and fishery resource in the Susitna River basin, yet the distribution of their seasonal habitats is poorly understood. Variable spawning site fidelity, long-range movements, and potential land use and climate change effects add to the uncertainty surrounding conservation and management of this species. The objective of this project is to assess the availability and use of seasonal habitats by rainbow trout and to link habitat characteristics (physical habitat, water temperature, and flow) with fish location and movement. Habitat availability will be assessed by spatially-continuous mapping of geomorphic channel types and water temperature metrics, and will be conducted during summer 2013. Habitat use will be quantified by radio-tagging a sample of rainbow trout in 2013 and tracking them throughout the spawning and rearing seasons in 2014. The results from this research will be useful for prioritizing habitat protection efforts in light of anticipated future land use and climate change.

Project Funding

MatSu Salmon Habitat Partnership & Alaska Department of Fish and Game
Start Date: 0000-00-00
End Date: 0000-00-00


Publications and products

Fraley, K.M. (2015). "Seasonal movements and habitat use of rainbow trout in the Susitna River basin, Southcentral Alaska". Unpublished Master's thesis. College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska.

Fraley, K. M., Falke, J. A., Yanusz, R., and S. Ivey. In press. "Seasonal movements and habitat use of potamodromous Rainbow Trout across a complex Alaska riverscape". Transactions of the American Fisheries Society.

Fraley, K. M., Falke, J. A., Yanusz, R., and S. Ivey. (2015). "Seasonal movements and habitat use of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in the Susitna River basin, Southcentral Alaska". American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting. August 17, 2015. Portland, OR.


Research Team

Jeffrey Falke

Principal Investigator

Associate Professor


  • Freshwater fish ecology and conservation biology
  • Landscape and spatial ecology of freshwater systems
  • Ecology and evolutionary biology of salmonids
  • Climate change impacts on aquatic systems
  • Impacts of introducted species on native aquatic fauna

Research Staff

Kevin Fraley