Great Lakes Environmental Assessment and Mapping Project

Spawning - lake trout

Lake trout
Lake trout (Michigan Sea Grant)

Lake trout are highly valued by recreational and commerical fishers in the Great Lakes. As a native species in decline, lake trout are stocked in several locations to encourage recovery. Spawning areas are extremely important to natural recruitment.

The presence of lake trout are indicative of a healthy system. The species spawns in the fall, requiring cold water (3-14 degrees C) and a rocky substrate with adequate interstitial spaces to protect eggs from predators and wave action while they are developing.1,2


Mapping lake trout spawning in the Great Lakes

Lake trout spawning locations were derived from the Atlas of Spawning and Nursery Areas of Great Lakes Fishes, a comprehensive bi-national survey of commercially and recreationally valuable fishes.1 Records of lake trout spawning occur primarily in Lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron.


Data Sources: 

1. Goodyear C.S., T.A. Edsall, D.M.O. Dempsey, G.D. Moss, and P.E. Polanski. 1982. Atlas of the spawning and nursery areas of Great Lakes fishes. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, D.C., USA.
2. Marsden, J.E., J.M. Casselman, T.A. Edsall, R.F. Elliott, J.D. Fitzsimons, W.H. Horns, B.A. Manny, S.C. McAughey, P.G. Sly, and B.L. Swanson. 1995. Lake trout spawning habitat in the Great Lakes - A review of current knowledge. Journal of Great Lakes Research, 21:487-497.