Lake Trout

Lake Trout.
Credit: Gordon Court

Name

  • Common name: Lake Trout
  • Scientific name: Salvelinus namaycush
  • Order: Salmoniformes
  • Subfamily: Salmoninae

Also known as

Laker, Namaycush, Mackinaw, Lake Char

Viewing opportunities

  • Lake Trout are found in nearly all Yukon lakes. You might see them feed in shallow water during the two to three week period after the ice goes out.
  • Interestingly, Lake Trout are not found in northeastern Beringia, otherwise known as parts of the Yukon that were not glaciated.

Description

  • More deeply forked tail than other char.
  • Varies from almost black to greyish or very light green and is sometimes silvery.
  • Heavily spotted with irregularly shaped light spots on back, sides, dorsal, and caudal fins.

Fast facts

  • Length: 40 to 100 cm
  • Weight: 1 to 20 kg
  • Habitat: Freshwater

Conservation status

What is conservation status?

  • Yukon: S4 (Apparently Secure)
  • Global: G5 (Secure)

Yukon population estimate

Not determined.

Behaviour

As their name implies, Lake Trout live almost exclusive in lakes, rarely in rivers. They are a slow growing fish with a low reproduction rate. Fish weighing as little as 1 kg can be found to be more than 30 years old. They spawn in the autumn on rocky shoals.

Diet

Aquatic insects, molluscs, crustaceans and fish.

Distribution

Lake Trout distribution map.

Trout and people

  • Lake Trout, along with Arctic Grayling, are the most frequently sought and harvested fish in Yukon.
  • Lake Trout in Yukon are very carefully managed due to their slow growth and low reproduction rates.