Salvelinus namaycush - (Walbaum, 1792)
Lake Trout
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Salvelinus namaycush (Walbaum in Artedi, 1792) (TSN 162002)
French Common Names: touladi
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.103158
Element Code: AFCHA05050
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Fishes - Bony Fishes - Salmon and Trouts
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Actinopterygii Salmoniformes Salmonidae Salvelinus
Genus Size: C - Small genus (6-20 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Robins, C.R., R.M. Bailey, C.E. Bond, J.R. Brooker, E.A. Lachner, R.N. Lea, and W.B. Scott. 1991. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States and Canada. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication 20. 183 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B91ROB01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Salvelinus namaycush
Taxonomic Comments: Three phenotypes, lean, siscowet, humper (or paperbelly) occur in Lake Superior; there is evidence that the morphological differences among these phenotypes are under some genetic control, and there is evidence of limited gene flow among the phenotypes; the siscowet and humper phenotypes apparently originated in Lake Superior in postglacial time (Burnham-Curtis and Smith 1994). Nearshore lean lake trout have low fat content and are valued by anglers and commerical fishers. Offshore siscowet lake trout have low commercial value because of their high fat content. Humpers live primarily on offshore shoals.

A hybrid between lake trout and brook trout is called a slake.

Placed in genus Cristivomer by some authors in the 1960s.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 17Aug2015
Global Status Last Changed: 12Sep1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (05Dec1996)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5 (22Dec2017)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alaska (S5), Arkansas (SNA), Colorado (SNA), Connecticut (SNA), Idaho (SNA), Illinois (S2S3), Indiana (S2), Kentucky (SNA), Maine (S5), Maryland (SNA), Massachusetts (SNA), Michigan (S4), Minnesota (SNR), Montana (S2), Nevada (SNA), New Hampshire (S5), New Jersey (SNA), New Mexico (SNA), New York (S5), North Dakota (SNR), Ohio (S3), Oregon (SNA), Pennsylvania (SX), Tennessee (SNA), Utah (SNA), Vermont (S4), Washington (SNA), West Virginia (SNA), Wisconsin (S5), Wyoming (SNA)
Canada Alberta (S3), British Columbia (S4), Labrador (S5), Manitoba (S5), New Brunswick (S3), Northwest Territories (S4S5), Nova Scotia (S3), Nunavut (S4S5), Ontario (S5), Quebec (S4), Saskatchewan (S5), Yukon Territory (S4)

Other Statuses

Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC): Candidate (Low) (26Jan2015)

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Native throughout most of Canada and much of Alaska, south to Great Lakes region, northern New England, northern border of western U.S. Introduced in many areas of northern and western U.S. and elsewhere in the world. Common in north, uncommon in Great Lakes except where maintained by artificial propagation (Page and Burr 1991).

Number of Occurrences:  
Number of Occurrences Comments: This species is represented by a large number of subpopulations and locations.

Population Size: >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but very large.

Siscowet lake trout are highly abundant in Lake Superior (Harvey et al. 2003).

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Extirpated or greatly reduced in abundance in the Great Lakes due to the combined effects of overfishing and parasitism by sea lampreys. Populations of exotic Pacific salmon in Lake Superior do not appear to be having a substantial negative impact of lake trout populations or forage species for lake trout (see Harvey et al. 2003).

Short-term Trend Comments: Populations collapsed in the Great Lakes in the early to mid-1900s; essentially extirpated from all the lakes except Lake Superior. Despite intensive cooperative management efforts by Canada and the United States, large-scale natural reproduction from wild and stocked spawning populations has been attained only in Lake Superior. However, populations remain below target levels in many regions of Lake Superior (Harvey et al. 2003). With appropriate management, the population in Parry Sound, Lake Huron, increased in the mid- to late 1990s (Reid et al. 2001).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Native throughout most of Canada and much of Alaska, south to Great Lakes region, northern New England, northern border of western U.S. Introduced in many areas of northern and western U.S. and elsewhere in the world. Common in north, uncommon in Great Lakes except where maintained by artificial propagation (Page and Burr 1991).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AK, ARexotic, COexotic, CTexotic, IDexotic, IL, IN, KYexotic, MAexotic, MDexotic, ME, MI, MN, MT, ND, NH, NJexotic, NMexotic, NVexotic, NY, OH, ORexotic, PAextirpated, TNexotic, UTexotic, VT, WAexotic, WI, WVexotic, WYexotic
Canada AB, BCnative and exotic, LB, MB, NB, NS, NT, NU, ON, QC, SK, YT

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
MT Beaverhead (30001), Carbon (30009), Deer Lodge (30023), Fergus (30027), Flathead (30029), Garfield (30033), Glacier (30035), Lake (30047), Liberty (30051), Lincoln (30053), Madison (30057), McCone (30055), Missoula (30063), Park (30067), Petroleum (30069), Phillips (30071), Sanders (30089), Toole (30101), Valley (30105)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
01 Upper St. John (01010001), Allagash (01010002), Fish (01010003), Aroostook (01010004), Meduxnekeag (01010005), West Branch Penobscot (01020001), East Branch Penobscot (01020002), Mattawamkeag (01020003), Piscataquis (01020004), Lower Penobscot (01020005), Upper Kennebec (01030001), Dead (01030002), Lower Kennebec (01030003), Upper Androscoggin (01040001), Lower Androscoggin (01040002), St. Croix (01050001), Maine Coastal (01050002), St. George-Sheepscot (01050003), Presumpscot (01060001), Saco (01060002), Piscataqua-Salmon Falls (01060003), Pemigewasset (01070001), Merrimack (01070002), Contoocook (01070003), Upper Connecticut (01080101), Upper Connecticut-Mascoma (01080104), Middle Connecticut (01080201), St. Francois (01110000)
02 Lake George (02010001), Otter (02010002), Winooski (02010003), Ausable (02010004), Lamoille (02010005), Great Chazy-Saranac (02010006), Missisquoi (02010007), Upper Hudson (02020001), Mohawk (02020004), Upper Delaware (02040101)*, Upper Susquehanna (02050101), Upper Susquehanna-Lackawanna (02050107)*
04 Baptism-Brule (04010101), Beaver-Lester (04010102), St. Louis (04010201), Beartrap-Nemadji (04010301), Black-Presque Isle (04020101), Keweenaw Peninsula (04020103), Dead-Kelsey (04020105), Betsy-Chocolay (04020201), Tahquamenon (04020202), Waiska (04020203), Lake Superior (04020300), Manitowoc-Sheboygan (04030101)*, Door-Kewaunee (04030102), Menominee (04030108)*, Upper Fox (04030201)*, Pike-Root (04040002), Brevoort-Millecoquins (04060107), Lake Michigan (04060200), St. Marys (04070001), Carp-Pine (04070002), Lone Lake-Ocqueoc (04070003), Lake Huron (04080300), Chautauqua-Conneaut (04120101), Lake Erie (04120200), Oak Orchard-Twelvemile (04130001), Upper Genesee (04130002), Lower Genesee (04130003), Irondequoit-Ninemile (04140101), Salmon-Sandy (04140102), Seneca (04140201), Black (04150101), Lake Ontario (04150200), Indian (04150303), Raquette (04150305), St. Regis (04150306), English-Salmon (04150307)
07 Pine (07010105), Upper St. Croix (07030001), Namekagon (07030002)*, Snake (07030004), Flambeau (07050002)*, Red Cedar (07050007), Upper Wisconsin (07070001)*, Upper Fox (07120006)
09 Rainy Headwaters (09030001), Rainy Lake (09030003), Upper Rainy (09030004), St. Marys (09040001)+, Belly (09040002)+
10 Belly (10010001), St. Mary (10010002), Red Rock (10020001)+, Beaverhead (10020002)+, Big Hole (10020004)+, Jefferson (10020005)+, Marias (10030203)+, Willow (10030204)+, Fort Peck Reservoir (10040104)+, Big Dry (10040105)+, Lower Musselshell (10040205)+, Lower Milk (10050012)+, Prarie Elk-Wolf (10060001)+, Clarks Fork Yellowstone (10070006)+
17 Upper Kootenai (17010101)+, Yaak (17010103)+, Lower Kootenai (17010104)+, Flint-Rock (17010202)+, Blackfoot (17010203)+, North Fork Flathead (17010206)+, Middle Fork Flathead (17010207)+, Flathead Lake (17010208)+, South Fork Flathead (17010209)+, Stillwater (17010210)+, Swan (17010211)+, Lower Flathead (17010212)+, Lower Clark Fork (17010213)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed (based on multiple information sources) Help
Ecology & Life History
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Reproduction Comments: Spawns generally in fall, earlier in the north than in the south. In Lake Superior, siscowet form has been found in spawning condition in spring and summer as well as in fall; humper form spawns in late summer and early fall (Burnham-Curtis and Smith 1994). Eggs hatch in winter or spring, usually after 4-5 months. Sexually mature sometimes as early as age IV, sometimes as late as age XVII. Post-spawning mortality generally is low (Stearley 1992).
Ecology Comments: Slow growing, long lived. Especially vulnerable to sea lamprey parasitism.

Lake trout can displace bull trout and may prevent bull trout from becoming established in certain low elevation lakes (Donald and Alger 1993).

Evidence from central U.S. waters of Lake Superior implies that siscowet predation on nearshore prey has not had a direct negative effect on lean lake trout stocks (Harvey et al. 2003).

Habitat Type: Freshwater
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: Y
Mobility and Migration Comments: May move hundreds of miles betwen spawning and nonspawning habitats. In northwestern Lake Michigan, recaptures of tagged lake trout indicate that they occupied an area with a radius of approximately 68 km; there was relatively little movement across the lake (moved mostly along the shoreline) (Schmalz et al. 2002).
Riverine Habitat(s): BIG RIVER, Low gradient, MEDIUM RIVER, Moderate gradient, Pool
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Deep water, Shallow water
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic
Habitat Comments: Deep lakes in south, shallow and deep lakes and rivers in north. Usually in deep water, especially in summer when surface waters warm. Prefers temperatures below 13 C. Rarely in lakes with pH less than 5.2.

Spawns over boulder or rubble bottom in shallower part of lake (less than 12 m in inland lakes, less than 37 m in Great Lakes). Eggs fall into crevices between rocks. Sometimes spawns in rivers.

In Lake Superior, lean lake trout inhabit areas from shore to approximately the 80-m bathymetric contour; Siscowet lake trout generally are in water more than 80 m deep; humpers live primarily on offshore shoals (Harvey et al. 2003).

Adult Food Habits: Invertivore, Piscivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore, Piscivore
Food Comments: Feeds opportunistically on various invertebrate and vertebrate animals. Zooplankton (Mysis and Pontoporeia crustaceans) important in diet of young; later, small benthic invertebrates are added to diet. Fishes, when available, are important in diet of adults (Scott and Crossman 1973), which may subsist on zooplankton when surface waters are too warm and fishes are absent in the deeper colder waters.

In Lake Superior, lean lake trout feed primarily on lake herring, rainbow smelt, and slimy sculpin; siscowet lake trout feed mostly on deepwater coregonines and deepwater sculpin (Harvey et al. 2003).

Length: 51 centimeters
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Species Impacts: Introduced lake trout can cause large declines in cutthroat trout populations (Kaeding et al. 1996).
Restoration Potential: Lake trout restoration is possible if sea lampreys are controlled, the appropriate strain is stocked, and exploitation is limited, although additional limiting factors could hinder success in some locations of the Great Lakes (Reid et al. 2001).

See Eshenroder (1987) for information on the role of contaminant burdens and socioeconomic factors in the reestablishment of populations in the Great Lakes.

Management Requirements: See Kaeding et al. (1996) for information on proposed control methods (gillnetting, trapping) for introduced lake trout in Yellowstone Lake.
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Occurrences are based on evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals (including eggs and larvae) in appropriate habitat.

Separation Barriers: Dam lacking a suitable fishway; high waterfall; upland habitat.

Alternate Separation Procedure: In most cases, except the largest lakes, each occupied lake represents a single, separate occurrence, unless movement between lakes is known, in which case an occurrence may encompass multiple lakes. The entire lake should be mapped as the occurrence, unless there is information indicating that certain areas are not used. In the largest lakes, use a separation distance of 200 km.
Separation Justification: In northwestern Lake Michigan, recaptures of tagged lake trout indicate that they occupied an area with a radius of approximately 68 km; there was relatively little movement across the lake (they moved mostly along the shoreline) (Schmalz et al. 2002). The separation distance is approximately three times the radius of the area occupied by this population. Dispersal distances of juveniles are not known.
Date: 09Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 15Apr2003
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Management Information Edition Date: 10Feb2003
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 15Apr2003
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
Help
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  • Scott, W.B. and E.J. Crossman. 1979. Freshwater Fishes of Canada. Fisheries Research Board of Canada, Ottawa. 966 pp.

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References for Watershed Distribution Map
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Full metadata for the Mammal Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/mammalsDistributionmetadatav1.pdf.

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