Lake whitefish Facts

Lake whitefish Facts
Lake whitefish is freshwater fish that belongs to the salmon family. It inhabits cold waters of Great Lakes and other lakes and rivers in the northern parts of North America. Lake whitefish usually swims on a depth of 60 to 120 feet. Millions of pounds of lake whitefish are removed from the water each year due to commercial and recreational fishing. This fish represents important part of human diet because of its pleasant taste and high nutritional value (excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids). Introduced species of fish (such as sea lamprey) reduce number of lake whitefish in the wild. Exact number of remaining lake whitefish is unknown (they are yet to be classified).
Interesting Lake whitefish Facts:
Lake whitefish can reach 20 to 31 inches in length and 5 to 20 pounds of weight.
Lake whitefish has greenish-brown scales on the back, silver scales on the sides and silver-white scales on the belly.
Lake whitefish has small head with blunt nose and small mouth. It has slender body and deeply forked tail. Nickname "humpback" refers to the small head compared to the rest of the body.
Scientific name of lake whitefish is Coregonus clupeaformis. It shares many morphological similarities with herring, hence the name clupeaformis ("herring-shape" in Latin).
Lake whitefish spends most of its life near the bottom of the lake. It relies on the eyesight and sense of smell to find food.
Lake whitefish is a carnivore (meat-eater). Its diet is based on shrimps, clams, snails, small fish and their eggs and insects.
Natural enemies of lake whitefish are sea lamprey, trout, salmon, walleye, pike and humans.
Lake whitefish swims in large schools.
Lake whitefish resides in deep waters during the summer and winter. It migrates toward the shallow waters at the beginning of the spring and fall.
Mating season of lake whitefish takes place from mid October to early December.
Spawning takes place during the night. Females can produce 10.000 to 130.000 eggs per season. They (females) release eggs while they swim vertically to the surface of the water together with one or two males who release sperm cells at the same time.
Lake whitefish spawn in the shallow water with rocky, gravely or sandy bottom. Fertilized eggs settle in between the crevices of rocks where they remain safe until the spring. Eggs hatch after incubation of around 133 days.
Young fish eat zooplankton until they reach length of 3 to 4 inches and become large enough to hunt bigger prey.
Lake whitefish are young species, that evolved into two different ecotypes: normal and dwarf, after the last glacial period (Ice Age), 12.000 years ago. That's why they are often used in the evolutionary studies.
Lake whitefish can survive up to 50 years in the wild (25 years is an average lifespan).

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