Pelagic fish population biology was studied in the large Swedish lakes VÃ¤nern, VÃ¤ttern, MÃ¤laren and HjÃ¤lmaren. It is crucial for fish fry in temperate regions to hatch early in the growth season to survive, and achieve large size before winter, and it is suggested that the key factors are to match the spring development of phyto- and zooplankton, but to avoid predation. This is more easily accomplished by the studied spring spawners smelt (Osmerus eperlanus) and pike-perch (Stizostedion lucioperca) than autumn spawners, such as vendace (Coregonus albula). It is shown that hatching of vendace fry shortly after ice-break-up is beneficial for year-class strength. In oligotrophic large lakes with few predatory species a rapid increase in water temperature after ice-break is also promoting recruitment, whereas this is not the case in eutrophic lakes where predation pressure from other species may become too high. The results indicate that autumn spawners will have difficulties in adapting to global warming and it is also suggested that the life history can explain the large variations observed in year-class strength between years.