Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Natural Resources

Department name when degree awarded

Fisheries and Wildlife


Charles P. Hawkins


Users of the Instream Flow Incremental Methodology CTFIM) commonly assume that there is a positive linear relationship between available habitat (WUA) and stream fish biomass. However, several studies have shown a lack cf correlation between WUA and biomass. Such poor relationships may occur if other factors limit fish abundance. Food availability is a potentially important factor limiting abundance of stream fishes and can affect blomass by influencing fish condition (individual weight). I collected rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) exposed to different levels of invertebrate-drift density to determine if condition was greater where food was more abundant. I also examined whether size-selective predation and gut fullness varied with drift density.

Size-selective predation was not related to drift density. However, condition and gut fullness were both significantly correlated with drift density. Furthermore, changes in drift density appeared to have a stronger influence on small-trout condition than large-trout condition. The results of this study and others support the contention that the reliability of the IFIM might be improved if food availability were incorporated into models.