The lake whitefish is a member of the salmon family and has the following characteristics:
The lake whitefish inhabits large rivers and cold freshwater lakes across Canada from New Brunswick and Labrador through to British Columbia, and the Northwest Territories. The northern limit of range in Canada for this species is near Victoria Island in Nunavut.
The lake whitefish is a cool-water species that moves from shallow to deep water as warming occurs and back to shallow water in the cooler months. Lake whitefish spawn in the fall, usually November and December in the Great Lakes area and earlier further north. Spawning usually occurs in shallow water at depths of less than 7.6 m (25 feet) over a hard or stoney bottom and sometimes over sand. The spawning fish are quite active and have been observed to leap out of the water. The eggs are deposited at random over the spawning grounds and remain there until they hatch in April or May the following year. The larvae form aggregations with other species along steep shorelines. Young whitefish generally leave the shallow inshore waters and move into deeper water in the early summer.
Adult lake whitefish are bottom feeders and their diet includes small fishes, fish eggs, aquatic insect larvae, clams, snails and plankton.
The lake whitefish is one of the most economically valuable freshwater species of the Northwest Territories and the Prairie Provinces, the lakes of which are the largest producers of this species of fish.
The fine flavour of lake whitefish has been extolled since the days of the early explorers. Its meat is marketed fresh, smoked and frozen, and the roe is marketed as “golden caviar”.
The Lake Simcoe whitefish is a distinct stock of lake whitefish found only in Lake Simcoe, Ontario. The Lake Simcoe whitefish is listed as threatened by COSEWIC (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada).
For further information, please contact your local DFO office: http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/oceans-habitat/habitat/aboutus-apropos/regions/arctic-arctique_e.asp?#1