Distribution in the Local Area:
Lake, Buck Lake NL, Coghlan Lake, Grassy Lake, Splake,
Monkshood Lake, North Lake, Oxbend Lake, Sandox Lake,
Sleeper Green Lake, Snow Lake,
Other names - (wendigo)
The splake is difficult to identify externally because
it resembles different aspects of both parents. The
body shape is intermediate between the heavier lake
trout and the slimmer brook trout. The shape of the
tail is also intermediate. It is not as deeply forked
as that of the lake trout, and more closely resembles
the slightly indented tail of the brook trout. In coloration
and markings, the splake more closely resembles the
brook trout. They have vermiculations like brook trout,
red orange ventral fins, and yellowish spots along their
flanks. Dead specimens can be positively identified
by the number of pyloric caeca, the wormlike appendages
on the intestinal tract right after the stomach. The
brook trout, which is the smaller parent, has only 23
to 55 (usually less than 50) pyloric caeca, whereas
the intermediate-size hybrid has 65 to 85, and the lake
trout, the larger parent, has 93 to 208 (usually 120
to 180) pyloric caeca.
Splake and brook trout have
very similar coloration patterns, making it very difficult
for the untrained eye to distinguish between the two
species. Splake tend to have a slight fork in the tail,
a trait passed down from its lake trout parent, while
brook trout tend to have no fork or "square"
Splake do not grow as large
as lake trout, but they do grow larger than brook trout.
Most splake weigh a few pounds, although those from
bigger waters with a large forage base may be in the
8- to 12-pound class. The all-tackle world record is
a fish from Ontario's Georgian Bay on Lake Huron; it
weighed 20 pounds, 11 ounces and was caught in 1987.
Although they can reproduce,
not all splake do, and some populations lack suitable
habitat for spawning, which is generally rocky reefs
near deep water. They also are capable of back-crossing
(hybrids mating with parent species), which has occurred
in hatcheries but evidently not in the wild. Spawning
occurs in fall, usually in October, on rocky reefs.
In spring, splake are often near tributaries or on gravel
shoals, and in summer they seeker deep water.
This omnivorous species eats
smelt, white perch, yellow perch, crayfish, insects,
sculpin, and other fish.
Due to its initial fast growth
rate and game nature, the splake is highly regarded
by anglers, who pursue these fish by using shallow and
deep lake techniques similar to those employed for its
parents, especially lake trout. Spring, when the fish
are shallow, is generally best for open-water success,
but fall fishing on reefs, when the fish are spawning,
can also be good. Working near bottom along the edges
of dropoffs while ice fishing is most popular in many