Research from University of Washington researchers report that shrews can be a big part of some fish diets. The study was done in Alaska where lead Pete Lisi and his colleagues concluded a 13 year study on salmonid diets. The news story reports that rainbow trout and Arctic grayling over 20 inches long liked shrews – some quite a lot. One of the fish had 19 shrews in its stomach.
In one part of the article fishing stories are recounted of trout leaping out on to land to eat frogs and rodents. These tales are not confirmed, but certainly these big fish have figured out a way capitalize on high protein shrews.
Shrew populations are cyclic, with some years producing bunches of shrews. Researchers noted that during years of high shrew populations, the small furry critters are more likely to take risks near water to find food and unoccupied habitat. This means more shrews end up in the bellies of hungry trout.
(Fun Fact: scientists count shrew tails in stomachs because that is one of the last parts of the animal to be digested.)
Anglers headed up to the Alaskan Frontier may want to pack a few dozen gerbils or a case of hamsters. The big fish may be worth it.
Or they may want these: