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Influence of mink predation on Brown Trout in Rapid Creek, SD


July 2017 - December 2019


Wild brown trout represent an important fishery in Rapid Creek. The catch and release section of Rapid Creek, below Pactola dam, is particularly notable among anglers and is considered a ‘blue ribbon’ trout fishery. Since the early 2000s, the abundance of adult brown trout (>20 cm) has declined appreciably and remains low compared to historic estimates. Understanding the cause of this decline is important, given the importance of this catch-and-release fishery and the implications for recruitment of larger fish. The recent observation of apparent mink predation has led biologists to consider this a testable hypothesis to the brown trout decline (Davis et al. 2016). This is also a logical extension from recent work that showed stomach fullness, growth and body condition of trout in Rapid Creek to be high compared to other Black Hills brown trout populations (James and Chipps 2016). Understanding the magnitude of mink predation on brown trout could have important implications for future management decisions in Rapid Creek. In addition, comparative data on the abundance and distribution of mink in the Black Hills will contribute to a better understanding of this fur-bearing species. If localized mink predation is a significant source of brown trout mortality, a number of options would need to be considered in managing the brown trout population. Increasing in-stream habitat complexity, for example, has been shown to reduce predation vulnerability of trout to terrestrial and avian predators. Whether management options should be implemented, however, hinges on a better understanding of mink predation on brown trout.


Current Staff

Federal Staff: 101

Masters Students: 232

Phd Students: 160

Post Docs: 58

University Staff: 268

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 677

Scientific Publications: 1887

Presentations: 4313



Funding Agencies

  • South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks


Cooperative Research Units Program Headquarters Cooperators

  1. U.S. Geological Survey