Lake Whitefish

General Informatiom:

Patricians of the Great Lakes, lake whitefish were long prized for the delectable quality of their meat. In 1836, a scientist in the field wrote, "We can say from personal experience that a diet of whitefish along, with no other food, can be eaten for days without losing its appeal."

In those halcyon days, these full-bodied fish often reached 20 pounds. Most lived about 10 years, though a few lunkers lasted almost 30 years.

Lake whitefish usually feed along the bottom and are generally safe from the sportsman's fishing tackle. But since 1970, commerical fishing nets have annually harvested more than two million pounds from Green Bay and northwestern Lake Michigan.

Whitefish school in cold, deep waters and are still plentiful in Lake Superior and the northern parts of Lakes Michigan and Huron. However, they have disappeared from some areas where they were once abundant.

Copyright, 1998, by the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute
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