Salvelinus namaycush
Salvelinus namaycush
(Lake Trout)
Native Transplant
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Salvelinus namaycush (Walbaum in Artedi, 1792)

Common name: Lake Trout

Synonyms and Other Names: mackinaw, siscowet.

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Scott and Crossman (1973); Becker (1983); Smith (1985); Page and Burr (1991).

Size: 126 cm.

Native Range: Widely distributed from northern Canada and Alaska (missing in southern prairie provinces) south to New England and Great Lakes basin (Page and Burr 1991). In northwestern Montana, Lake Trout are native in Waterton Lake, Glenns Lake, Cosley Lake, and St. Mary Lake. (Snyder and Oswald 2005). In southwestern Montana, glacial relict populations of Lake Trout exist in Elk Lake and Twin Lake (Vincent 1963, Brown 1971, Synder and Oswald 2005).

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Alaska auto-generated map
Hawaii auto-generated map
Caribbean auto-generated map
Puerto Rico &
Virgin Islands
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Guam Saipan
Native range data for this species provided in part by NatureServe NS logo
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences: Lake Trout has been stocked in Bull Shoals Lake, Greer's Ferry Lake, and the Little Red River below Greer's Ferry Lake in Arkansas (Robison and Buchanan 1988); Lake Tahoe, and Fallen Leaf, Stony Ridge, Donner, Crystal, Eagle, and Clear lakes, Golden Gate Park, and several lakes in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California (Smith 1896; Shebley 1917; Cordone and Frantz 1966; Moyle 1976; Lee et al. 1980 et seq.; Sigler and Sigler 1987; Dill and Cordone 1997); lakes in the Flattop Mountains (Colorado headwaters), and in the Clear, Arkansas headwaters, Rio Grande headwaters, Blue, Frying Pan, North Platte, South Platte, and upper Gunnison drainages in Colorado (Everhart and Seaman 1971; Lee et al. 1980 et seq.; Tyus et al. 1982; Wiltzius 1985; Rasmussen 1998; Beckman 1952); the Connecticut and Thames drainage, and East Twin Lakes and Wononskopomuc Lake in the Housatonic drainage, Connecticut (Hubbs and Lagler 1947; Webster 1942; Behnke and Wetzel 1960; Whitworth et al. 1968; Lee et al. 1980 et seq.; Schmidt 1986); Delaware River and Delaware Bay, Delaware (Raasch and Altemus 1991); the Bear, Snake River above and below Shoshone falls, Pend Orielle, Palisades, and North Fork Payette drainages in Idaho (Linder 1963; Simpson and Wallace 1978; Lee et al. 1980 et seq.; Idaho Fish and Game 1996); Rock drainage, Illinois (Smith 1979; Burr and Page 1986); a lake in the St. Joseph drainage, Indiana (Sweeney 1902); West Lake Okoboji, Iowa (Harlan et al. 1987); unspecified areas in Kansas (Breukelman 1946; Cross 1967); Dale Hollow Reservoir and Lake Cumberland, Kentucky (Burr and Warren 1986); Acadia National Park, Maine (Tilmant 1999); Jennings Randolph Lake in the Potomac drainage (Cincotta, personal communication) and the Gunpowder system in Maryland (Ferguson 1876; Pritchard et al. 1976); Wachusett and Quabbin reservoirs in Massachusetts (Lee et al. 1980 et seq.; Hartel 1992; Cardoza et al. 1993; Hartel et al. 2002); numerous Great Lake tributaries in Michigan (Lee et al. 1980 et seq.); the Minnesota drainage, and lakes in central and southern Minnesota in the Mississippi drainage (Eddy and Underhill 1974; Burr and Page 1986); Fort Peck Reservoir, and the Pend Orielle, Missouri headwaters, upper Yellowstone, Marais, and upper Kootenai drainages in Montana (Lee et al. 1980 et seq.; Cross et al. 1986; Holton 1990), and in Glacier National Park (W. Fredenberg, pers. comm.); lakes in the North Platte, upper White, Niobrara, Red Willow Creek in Morrill County, McConaughy Lake and lakes in eastern and northern, Nebraska (Jones 1963; Morris et al. 1974; Cross et al. 1986); Lake Tahoe, Truckee River, Cascade Lake, and Walker, Fallen Leaf, and Tallac lakes, Nevada (Smith 1896; La Rivers 1962; Cordone and Frantz 1966; Deacon and Williams 1984; Sigler and Sigler 1987; Insider Viewpoint 2001; Vinyard 2001); many lakes in New Hampshire (Hoover 1936; Scarola 1973; Lee et al. 1980 et seq.); many lakes statewide including those in the Raritan and upper Delaware drainages in New Jersey (Fowler 1952; Stiles 1978; Soldwedel, personal communication); upper Canadian, Cimarron, Rio Grande, and Rio Chama drainages in New Mexico (Sublette et al. 1990); lakes in Putnam, Sullivan, Westchester, and possibly Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties, New York (Smith 1985); unspecified locations in North Dakota (North Dakota Game and Fish Department 1994; T. Steinwand, personal communication); Odell, Crescent, and Summit lakes in Klamath County, and Big Cultus Lake in Deschutes County, Oregon (Bond 1973, 1994; Lee et al. 1980 et seq.; State of Oregon 2000; Li, personal communication); Harvey's Lake in the Susquehanna drainage in Pennsylvania (Denoncourt et al. 1975; Hendricks et al. 1979; Lee et al. 1980 et seq.; Cooper 1983; Hocutt et al. 1986); unspecified locations in South Dakota (North Dakota Game and Fish Department 1994; Hanten, personal communication); Dale Hollow Reservoir, Tennessee (Burr and Warren 1986; Etnier and Starnes 1993); Flaming Gorge Reservoir, Starvation Reservoir, and Utah, Bear, Provo, St. Mary's, and Fish lakes in Utah (Sigler and Miller 1963; Lee et al. 1980 et seq.; Tyus et al. 1982; Sigler and Sigler 1987, 1996); the New and upper Roanoke (Dan) drainages in Virginia (Jenkins and Burkhead 1994); Mount Rainier National Park, lakes in the upper Columbia, Puget Sound, and Yakima drainages in Washington (Chapman 1942; Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife 1997; Tilmant 1999; Wydoski and Whitney 2003); Jennings Randolph Lake in the Potomac drainage in West Virginia (Cincotta, personal communication); the Fox, Chippewa, Wisconsin, and Rock drainages in Wisconsin (Lee et al. 1980 et seq.; Becker 1983); and Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Flaming Gorge Reservoir, the Green River, Fremont Lake in the New Fork system, and lakes in the Snake and Yellowstone headwaters in Wyoming (Sigler and Miller 1963; Baxter and Simon 1970; Lee et al. 1980 et seq.; Tyus et al. 1982; Hubert 1994; Kaeding et al. 1996; Tilmant 1999; Wiley 2003; Dunham et al. 2004).

Means of Introduction: Lake Trout have been intentionally stocked as a sport fish. In the Great Lakes, the species was stocked to restore populations within its native range that had been decimated by the sea lamprey. Kaeding et al. (1996) summarized what is known about the illegal introduction into Yellowstone Lake.

Status: Reported as established locally in California, Colorado, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, and Wyoming. Extirpated in Connecticut (Whitworth 1996). Scientists have concluded Lake Trout are established in Yellowstone Lake and are present at such high numbers eradication is probably not possible (Kaeding et al. 1996).

Impact of Introduction: Lake Trout often lead to the demise of other trout species where it is introduced. For instance, introductions into Lake Tahoe led to the elimination of the native Lahontan cutthroat Oncorhynchus clarkii henshawi (McAffee 1966; Moyle 1976; Behnke, personal communication). Cordone and Frantz (1966) reported a drastic decline and eventual extinction of native cutthroat in Lake Tahoe after the introduction of Lake Trout. Lahontan cutthroat were abundant in the lake in 1907, with only an occasional Lake Trout reported. By 1938, the cutthroat has virtually disappeared, and by 1966, Lake Trout comprised 70% of angler catch in the lake (Cordone and Frantz 1966). Stocked Lake Trout have replaced native cutthroats in deep Rocky Mountain lakes (Benson et al. 1961). This trout has also virtually eliminated cutthroat and bull trout in Flathead Lake, Montana, and Pend Orielle Lake, Idaho. The introduction into Yellowstone Lake poses a similar threat to the native Yellowstone cutthroat trout O. c. bouvieri. The introduction of Lake Trout led to the extirpation of three of the four populations of Sunapee trout (Behnke, personal communication). Lake Trout introduced into Flaming Gorge Reservoir were found to prey heavily on the Utah chub Gila atraria (Teuscher and Luecke 1996). Predation by Lake Trout was shown to be a major factor in the decline of kokanee O. nerka in Lake Chelan, Washington (Schoen et al. 2012). Competition with and predation by nonnative species (i.e., Catostomus sp., creek chub Semotilus atromaculatus, redside shiner Richardsonius balteatus, burbot Lota lota, brown trout Salmo trutta, and Lake Trout Salvelinus namaycush) limit populations of the rare bluehead sucker Catostomus discobolus (Wyoming Game and Fish Department 2010).

Remarks: A recent illegal introduction in Yellowstone Lake, Wyoming, has been of great concern there. Biologists are worried about effects on native Yellowstone cutthroat trout (McCullen 1994; Anonymous 1994; Kaeding et al. 1996). A plan has been devised by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove the Lake Trout from Yellowstone Lake but scientists are skeptical that eradication efforts will succeed. Although it is found in some surrounding states, the Lake Trout has not been stocked in Oklahoma (Pigg, personal communication). Ng et al. (2016) used life history data and population models to evaluate different different management scenarios, finding that a slight (2x) increase in mortality applied over 20 years could cause population eradication.

References: (click for full references)

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Beckman, W.C. 1952. Guide to the fishes of Colorado. Colorado Department of Game and Fish.

Behnke, R.J. and R.M. Wetzel. 1960. A preliminary list of the fishes found in the fresh waters of Connecticut. Copeia 2:141-143.

Benson, N.G., J.R. Greeley, M.I. Huish, and J.H. Kuehn. 1961. Status of management of natural lakes. Transactions of American Fishery Society 90:218-224.

Bond, C.E. 1973. Keys to Oregon freshwater fishes. Oregon State University Agriculture Experimental Station Technical Bulletin 58:1-42, revised.

Bond, C.E. 1994. Keys to Oregon freshwater fishes. Oregon State University Bookstores, Corvallis, OR.

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Brown, C.J.D. 1971. Fishes of Montana. Montana State University, Bozeman, MT.

Burr, B.M., and L.M. Page. 1986. Zoogeography of the fishes of the lower Ohio-upper Mississippi basin. 287-324 in C.H. Hocutt and E.O. Wiley, eds. The zoogeography of North American freshwater fishes. John Wiley and Sons, New York, NY.

Burr, B.M., and M.L. Warren, Jr. 1986. A distributional atlas of Kentucky fishes. Kentucky Nature Preserves Commission Scientific and Technical series Number 4.

Cardoza, J.E., G.S. Jones, T.W. French, and D.B. Halliwell. 1993. Exotic and translocated vertebrates of Massachusetts. Fauna of Massachusetts Series 6. Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Westborough, MA.

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FishBase Summary

Author: Pam Fuller, and Matt Neilson

Revision Date: 2/2/2016

Peer Review Date: 4/1/2016

Citation Information:
Pam Fuller, and Matt Neilson, 2018, Salvelinus namaycush (Walbaum in Artedi, 1792): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL,, Revision Date: 2/2/2016, Peer Review Date: 4/1/2016, Access Date: 1/24/2018

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.

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Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2018]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [1/24/2018].

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