Fun Lake Trout Facts For Kids

Arpitha Rajendra
May 17, 2023 By Arpitha Rajendra
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Ankit Shinde
Read some fun and interesting lake trout facts.

The Lake Trout (Salvelinus namaycush) is a fresh and cold-water fish of the Salmonidae family. The biological nomenclature namaycush is from the word 'namekush' of communities of the southeast Cree inland.

It is also from the Ojibwe word 'namegos' and 'namegoshens', which mean 'lake trout' and 'rainbow trout,' respectively. Another translation of namaycush is 'little lake trout.' They are primarily native fish of the lakes of North America.

They can live up to 25 years. Many more names of this fish are gray trout, mackinaw, namaycush, lake char, great lakes tout, and touladi.

They are only members of the Cristovomer subgenus. Lake trouts are a well-prized food, sports, and game fish. The Lake trout found in Lake Superior is called a lean, paper belly, and siscowet.

Mud hens is the name given to the dark-colored ones. The subspecies of Lake Trout are the siscowet lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush siscowet), the common lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush namaycush), and the rush lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush huronicus).

They can adapt to the environment very well. If the lakes they occupy have no prey fish, they become planktivorous, and in places where these prey fishes are present, they turn piscivorous. They also camouflage well.

They can be found mainly in Canada and Alaska for trout fishing. Read on to know more.

You may also enjoy our articles on rainbow trout and brown trout.

Lake Trout Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Lake Trout?

The lake trout is a voracious, large, slow-growing freshwater char. They are deep cool lake water fishes. They are found in different colors in different environments so as camouflage in the surroundings.

This fish moves to oxygen-rich, cool lakes in the summers, and during spawning, they migrate to idle regions of the lakes. They are one of the many types of trout fish. They are also popular sports and game fish among anglers.

What class of animal does a Lake Trout belong to?

The lake trout belongs to the class Actinopterygii of fish.

How many Lake Trout are there in the world?

The exact number of lake trouts around the world is unknown

Where does a Lake Trout live?

These species are native fish in North America. Lake trout live in northern Canada, Alaska, and also northeast America.

They were introduced to waters where they are not native such as in Europe, Northern, and Southern America, and a few parts of Asia. Legally, they were introduced in the Shoshone, Lewis, and Heart Lakes of Yellowstone National Park in the 1890s. They are an invasive species in Yellowstone Lake after they were accidentally introduced in the '80s.

What is a Lake Trout's habitat?

The lake trout habitat includes large shallow and cold lakes with high oxygen levels. They also occupy deep oligotrophic (low-nutrient) lakes. They are large predators of the Great Lakes. Their habitat also includes large rivers. They have no anadromous tendency like other Salmonidaes, so they live in freshwater. Only a few water bodies can support lake trout adaptations.

Who do Lake Trout live with?

The lake trout live on their own except during the spawning season.

How long does a Lake Trout live?

The lake trout's lifespan in captivity is around 12 years. In the wild, they live up to 40 years.

How do they reproduce?

The Lake trout is slow-growing and they reach their maturity pretty late. They have low reproductive potential.

Both the male and female trout reach maturity at around six years. A few factors like dissolved solid concentrations and the size of the lake impact the age of maturity of these fish species, research shows.

The lake trout spawn in regions of the lake with high-density gravel, rubble, or cobble. The male cleans away any silts present in the bottom of the water to make space for the deposition of fertilized eggs. The spawning process takes place at night and in early winter or fall.

Several males engage in amplexus which means clasping with the female when she enters the spawning area. Eggs take as long as four to six months to hatch due to cold water.

Only after the yolk sac is completely absorbed does the developing trout remain in the spawning substrate. The lake trout babies or fingerlings travel deep down the water to feed on foods like zooplankton.

What is their conservation status?

The lake trout populations were impacted by the commercial trade in Lake Superior in the annual commercial harvest from 1920-1950 of over 2 million kg trout. Also, overfishing and predation by the sea lamprey caused a decline in these species.

Later on, the shutdown of the commercial fishery and the chemical control of sea lamprey helped in the restoration of the population of these species. The current conservation status is not evaluated. Anglers target these fish for sports and games.

So, in their native water, their populations face the threat of anglers and pollution. In waters where they are invasive, their populations face the threat of trout fishing, climate change, and pollution.

Lake Trout Fun Facts

What does Lake Trout look like?

These cold-water fish species are long and kind of round in shape. They have a light-colored body with dark spots.

The tail (caudal fin) is deeply forked. Lake trout species are known to be the largest of the chars.

These aquatic fish species come in a range of colors from light green or gray or black or brown to silverish, which depends on the environment. On the head, body, caudal, and dorsal fins small yellow spots are present. The lower fins are colored orange with a white edge.

The flanks on their belly are white or milky in color. Unlike their relative fish brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) these fish species have 9-12 gill rakers and lack a black stripe on the anterior edge of their pelvic and anal fin.

Their average length is 45-68 cm. On the sides of the young fish of this species, there are about 7-12 interrupted parr marks.

Underwater view of a lake trout.

How cute are they?

These aquatic fish species have dull colors so, we don't think that they are cute.

How do they communicate?

The trout fish communicates using touch and smell. They also communicate by releasing chemicals.

How big is a Lake Trout?

The lake trout is 17.7-26.7 in (45-68 cm) long and 4-7 in (10.2-17.8 cm) tall.

How fast can a Lake Trout swim?

Lake trouts are not fast swimmers but there is no exact speed known.

How much does a Lake Trout weigh?

The lake trout weighs 6.6 lb (3 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no specific name for a female and male lake trout.

What would you call a baby Lake Trout?

Baby lake trout are called fishling or fry when they are born.

What do they eat?

Lake trout feed on many organisms. They feed on freshwater sponges, insects, crustaceans, and fishes. The young ones eat insects, plankton, larvae, and worms. The adult lake trout diet also includes smelt, minnows, small fishes, sculpin, and alewives.

Are they dangerous?

No. They are not dangerous.

Would they make a good pet?

No, they would not make a good pet. They will require a big aquarium as they grow to a large size. They are preferred for trout fishing rather than as pets.

Did you know...

The hybrid of lake trout and brook trout is called splake. They have the features of both parents.

Lake trout can be found even at a depth of 200 ft (61 m) in cold deep water.

These plankton-feeding fish mature at an early stage but grow slowly. These plankton-feeding fish are smaller and die sooner than piscivorous fish.

The world record for the heaviest trout is 102 lb (46 kg) and 50 in (130 cm) long reported in Alaska.

To improve the populations of self-sustaining lake trout the United States Fish and Wildlife Service has collaborated with the Great Lakes Fishery Commission and the states.

You can use the trolling method to catch one of these species. The Lake trout fishing season is from May to October. It is easier to catch a trout from the shore during the northwest wind.

Do people eat Lake Trout?

Yes, people eat Lake fish. These species are oily fishes i.e. they contain oil in their belly cavity and tissues. Around 30% of oil is stored in their fillet.

They contain minerals like iron, copper, and zinc. They provide vitamin B1, B6, D, B3, and B12. Their fillet is low in mercury content and nutrient-dense. A few lake trout recipes are grilled lake trout and pan-fried lake trout.

Lake Trout vs Rainbow Trout

There are many differences between the Lake trout and the Rainbow trout. The Rainbow trout is greenish-blue or green whereas the lake trout is dull greenish-gray.

Rainbow trout reach their maturity at three to five years whereas lake trout reach maturity at five to seven years. Rainbow trout eats spawn, fish, and insects whereas lake trout eats alewives and small fishes. Rainbow trout can be caught with worms, spawn, and corn whereas lake trout can be caught with minnows, jigs, spoons, and spinners

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish including muskellunge or Gourami.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our lake trout coloring pages.

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Written by Arpitha Rajendra

Bachelor of Engineering specializing in Aeronautical/Aerospace Technology, Master of Business Administration specializing in Management

Arpitha Rajendra picture

Arpitha RajendraBachelor of Engineering specializing in Aeronautical/Aerospace Technology, Master of Business Administration specializing in Management

With a background in Aeronautical Engineering and practical experience in various technical areas, Arpitha is a valuable member of the Kidadl content writing team. She did her Bachelor's degree in Engineering, specializing in Aeronautical Engineering, at Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology in 2020. Arpitha has honed her skills through her work with leading companies in Bangalore, where she contributed to several noteworthy projects, including the development of high-performance aircraft using morphing technology and the analysis of crack propagation using Abaqus XFEM.

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Fact-checked by Ankit Shinde

Bachelor of Journalism and Mass Communication

Ankit Shinde picture

Ankit ShindeBachelor of Journalism and Mass Communication

Ankit is a Journalism and Mass Media graduate from the University of Mumbai. With experience in SEO, blog and article writing, and fiction writing, he is a versatile writer and content creator. In his free time, Ankit enjoys reading, writing, and listening to music.

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