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The response of rainbow trout Salmo gairdneri to lures with special references to color preference Dooley, Robert H. A.

Abstract

The response of rainbow trout (Salmo gairdneri) to lures was investigated in trolling experiments at Loon Lake, British Columbia. The "action" of a lure was found to be an important parameter in determining its efficiency: of four actions tested, the flatfish caught the greatest number of fish. Although the color of lure was not significant, red lures were more efficient than yellow, green, and blue, and more efficient than various color patterns of red and white. The presence of a dodger with lures did not affect their efficiency, but larger fish were caught. No size selection occurred with either colors or actions of lures. In laboratory feeding experiments using dyed trout eggs as food, red was selected first or second more often than yellow, green, or blue. The color of background against which the fish were fed, and individual differences among fish caused significant changes in the preference shown for various colors of food. Combining two colors also affected the selection intensity, depending upon the contrast between the two colors. Preferences for different colors of food were not influenced by the hunger level of the fish, measured in terms of the quantity of food in the fish's gut. In the course of the experiments it was incidentally observed: (1) that rainbow trout possess a striking ability to match the hue of their skin (mainly in the dorsal region) to that of the background in which they are kept; (Z) the color of background affects the activity level of rainbow trout: yellow produces the highest level of activity and green the lowest.

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