What is a lake trout?
The lake trout, Salvelinus namaycush, is a cold water fish of the charr family. The largest of the trout species, it is a cousin to the familiar and popular Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis). Native to the northeast United States and Canada, this large deepwater fish was once a top predator fish in the Great Lakes. Through the introduction of exotic, non-native species such as the sea lamprey, loss of habitat and historic overharvest the species has suffered a significant decline over the past half century.
The New York State record for lake trout was caught off of Dunkirk NY in 2003. The fish weighed 41.5 lbs and measured 42.5 inches. Because the fish was tagged, we can trace the fish back to an Allegheny National Fish Hatchery stocking event in 1985, meaning it was more than 18 years old. It is not unheard of to find 50 year old lake trout swimming in the Great Lakes!
All images by FWS unless otherwise noted