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Conserving the Nature of America

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.


Lake Trout

Biologist holding a juvenile lake trout
Juvenile lake trout. Photo by USFWS.

Lake Trout is a freshwater char living as a main predator in the Great Lakes. Other names for it include mackinaw, lake char or charr, touladi, togue and grey trout. Around Lake Superior, they can also be variously known as siscowet, paperbellies and leans. Lake trout are prized both as game fish and as a food fish.

Lake trout are native to the Great Lakes and historically provided a large commercial fishery. Wild lake trout populations nearly vanished in the Upper Great Lakes, including lakes Michigan, Huron and Superior, in the 1940s and 1950s after years of overfishing and losses from parasitic sea lamprey. Hatchery stocking was initiated in an effort to stop the decline of this valuable resource. The development and initiation of effective control of sea lamprey in the 1960s resulted in increased survival of stocked lake trout.

Lake trout eggs being incubated
Lake trout eggs being incubated. Photo by USFWS.