The Lake Trout
What's in a Name?
Lake Trout (Salvelinus namaycush), despite their name is not a trout at all, though it is a member of the same Salmonidae family as its cousins the Salmon and Trout. Lake Trout are actually classified as Charr.
The Lake Trout is also know by many other names due to is rather significant distribution the world over. Other names that the Lake Trout is known by include: laker, mackinaw, Great Lakes trout or charr, salmon trout, landlocked salmon, gray trout, great gray trout, mountain trout, tongue, togue, namaycush or masamay cush, siscowet, fat trout, paperbelly, bank trout, bumper and humper.
Lake Trout Identification
Lake Trout more or less have the same slender body as the trout and the salmon, though the body becomes thicker as the Lake Trout becomes much bigger.
The tail is moderately forked, even more than the other four Charr. Like the Arctic Charr, its scales are small leaving the skin feeling smooth.
The Lake Trout has several rows of teeth that while weak and less numerous than other charr, could cause a bit of damage if you are not careful handling the fish.
The head proportionally is not as big as a largemouth bass, but it is a descent size. However, the larger the Lake Trout, the smaller the head becomes proportionally to the rest of the fish's body.
Common with Other Charr
The Lake Trout has white leading edges on all its lower fins and light colored spots on a dark back- ground like the other Charr. The body is slightly grey brown with off white spots that extend onto the dorsal, the adipose and the caudal fins.
Adding to the aforementioned confusion is the naming convention of the Charr species. The Arctic Charr is known by over 15 different names. The ocean going Arctic Char is most often called the char, red charr or arctic charr.
Coloration is highly variable. Unlike the Arctic Charr, there are no red, black or haloed spots of any kind over its entire body.
Pay special attention to their general colour tone. Lake Trout with lighter tones indicated that they are deep-dwelling fish. This is usually an indication that they live in southerly lakes. However, darker Lake Trout with reddish and orange tones, indicates that these Lake Trout come from less fertile, tannin-colored northern lakes.