Status of Fishes in Selected Adirondack Lakes: Eight Decades of Changing Assemblage Composition

Robert A. Daniels1, *, Robert T. Bombard2, James W. Sutherland2, Charles W. Boylen3
1 Research and Collections, New York State Museum, Cultural Education Centre 3140, Albany, New York 12230 USA
2 New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, 625 Broadway Avenue, Albany, New York 12233 USA
3 Darrin Fresh Water Institute, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York 12180 USA

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© 2011 Daniels et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at New York State Museum, CEC 3140, Albany, NY 12230, USA; Tel: 518-473-8121; Fax: 518-486-2034; E-mail:


Twenty-six taxa of fish were present in eighteen lakes in the southwestern quadrant of the Adirondack Park, Herkimer and Hamilton Counties, New York. Species richness in the lakes ranged from 1 to 18 species. Here we assess the condition and composition of the fish assemblages in lakes and compare in-lake changes in species composition over an 80-yr period. To examine assemblage condition we estimated population size of species in the lakes using mark-and-recapture techniques. To examine change in composition we compared the assemblage structure of these lakes to that present in two previous surveys. Populations of all but the rarest species comprised several size classes, indicating successful recruitment for all common species in all lakes. Most lakes support a rich, viable assemblage, although all but one includes, and many are dominated by, exotic species. Although the lakes studied are in one ecoregion and often in the same subdrainage, species composition differed among lakes and composition and abundance differed within lakes over time. Assessments of the fish assemblage composition in these lakes, when compared over time showed marked differences. These differences might be the result of several factors, but the presence of exotic taxa and extirpation of native fishes can explain gross changes in fish assemblage composition in these Adirondack lakes.

Keywords: Brook trout, exotic species, native species, New York, relative abundance, white sucker, yellow perch.