Fishing Ontario Canada


Distribution in the area:

Bark Lake, Diamond Lake, Kamaniskeg Lake,


Lake whitefish are delicious, important commercially in the Great Lakes, and sought by sport fishermen, especially during fall and winter. Besides having palatable flesh, the liver and eggs (sometimes sold as caviar) are also fine eating.


17"-22" average length 18"


formerly to 20 lbs or more now typically 1½-4 lbs, seldom more than 15 lbs


Generally white with a light olive green shading along the backpale greenish-brown to light or dark brown back
silver on the sides
silvery white below
fins clear or lightly pigmented
tail has a dark edge


deep-bodied with a slight arch in front
large scales. Older fish often develop a fleshy bump at the shoulders which makes the small head look even smaller.
adipose fin is present
tail deeply forked


small head
small mouth
blunt snout overhanging lower jaw


Up to 10 years
formerly as much as 30 years


Identifiable as a member of the Trout/Salmon family (Salmonidae) by its body shape and adipose fin.
Distinguished from the closely-related Cisco by:
an overhanging snout (retrose condition)
few (usually 23-33), short gill rakers
Both features are adaptations to feeding on larger bottom organisms.


Prefers cold, deep water lakes, often the same waters as one of its primary predators, the Lake Trout (Salvelinus namaycush). Occasionally reported from rivers.
Typically bottom dwellers.


Mainly a bottom feeder of benthic invertebrates
Diet includes crustaceans snails aquatic and terrestrial insects other small aquatic organisms occasionally fish

Major Predators:

Burbot (Lota lota)
Lake Trout (Salvelinus namaycush)
Northern Pike (Esox lucius)
Walleye, (Stizostedion vitreum)
other Whitefish.


Minnesota Record: 12lbs 4oz, from Leech Lake (Cass County)
Largest individual on record was 41½ lbs, from Lake Superior, 1918.


Not generally considered a game fish, though highly regarded on the table.
Long prized for the quality and fine flavor of their meat since the days of the early explorers.
Caught commercially with gillnets set in open water during summer and below the ice in winter. Sold fresh and frozen in the round, headed and dressed, and as fillets. Roe is marketed as "golden caviar".


Spawns September through January in shallow waters at depths of less than 25', usually over a sand or gravel substrate
Female lays some 16,100 eggs per pound of fish, losing roughly 11% of her body weight. Eggs are shed randomly and abandoned, hatching in April or May of the following spring, depending on water temperature. Nests are not built, nor is parental care provided.
Young generally move from the shallows to deeper water by early summer.
Sexual maturity reached by age 6 or 7.