Whitefish

Whitefish

Common Names - Common whitefish, lake whitefish, jumbos, "whities".

Description-Silvery sides with large scales and no markings. Body more laterally compressed than that of mountain whitefish; snout more underslung than that of cisco/tulibee.

Table Quality-Lake whitefish are one of the most important commercial species in Manitoba as well as Canada. The flesh is oily but has an excellent flavour. They are popular both fresh and smoked.

Sporting Qualities- Contrary to what many people believe these fish are excellent fighters and they are becoming more popular, especially with ice fishermen. They can be caught on small minnows, either live or salted; teardrop jigs baited with waxworms; and small jigging lures. They respond well to chum. On calm summer mornings and evenings, whitefish feed on the surface and can be taken with flies. One warning to those who practice catch and release; Handling in general is a no-no. If fish are to survive they must be left in the water and not touched when removing the hook --- a tough job to say the least!

Habitat-Found in the cold depths of oligotrophic lakes, often with lake trout. In Lake Superior, they have been taken in nets at depths as great as 420 feet. In the far North, they can survive in shallow lakes. They prefer water temperatures of 50' to 55'F.

Food Habits-Primarily bottom feeders, they eat insect larvae, molluscs, fish eggs and small fish. But during a hatch, they can often be seen taking insects off the surface.

Manitoba has any number of lakes which have excellent populations of whitefish. The bigger lakes are very difficult to fish as they are very prone to being wind blown. Some of the best , and most accessible lakes for angling "whities" are those of the Riding mountain and Porcupine mountains