Lake Trout - (Salvelinus namaycush)
Identification tips for trouts and salmons
Length:17 to 27 inches
Weight:3 to 9 pounds
Coloring:light spots on darker background, light underside
Common Names: Great Lakes trout, laker, namaycush,togue, grey trout,
Found in Lakes:Michigan, Huron, Ontario, Erie and Superior
These swift, torpedo-shaped fish inhabit the cold waters of an area extending
from Wisconsin and Upper Michigan to the northernmost reaches of the North
American continent. For more than half a century, lake trout were the
most valuable commercial fish in the Upper Great Lakes. Then overfishing
and the onslaught of the sea lamprey from the late 1930s and into the
1950s effectively eliminated this fish from Lake Michigan.
Thanks to sea lamprey control and continuous stocking, lake trout now
live seven or more years in the lake, thriving on a diet of chubs and
sculpins (their traditional prey), smelt and alewives. As a result, the
return of this preeminent native, along with the introduction of Pacific
salmon, has created a thriving world-class sport fishery in Lake Michigan.
Biologists hope that ongoing research and plantings of these fish on historic
spawning reefs will yet restore reproducing stocks of lake trout in Lake
Michigan and enhance the few surviving stocks in Lake Superior.
Lake trout are long-lived and do not reach sexual maturity until 6-8
years of age. While the average lake trout in Lake Michigan today weighs
around seven pounds, some of the larger trophy fish are three feet long
and weigh as much as 25 pounds.
copyright 2001 University
of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute