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The fifth generation of Vanlandschoots pulling fresh whitefish out of Munising Bay.

About Lake Superior Whitefish

The Lake Superior Whitefish is the freshwater fish of the subfamily Coregoninae and Ciscoes. Coregoninae contains whitefish from both freshwater and salt water. The whitefish is also one of the three subfamilies in the salmon family Salmonidae. This species of fish are mainly distributed in chilly waters and are very good in taste. They live on or nearer to the seafloor and contain oil only in their livers instead of guts. They require cool and well-oxygenated water in the summer season to grow.


Lake Superior is one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world, having more surface area than any other freshwater lake in the world. The fishes found in Lake Superior are rich in omega 3 because the lake is very cold and deep. There are around 88 different species of fish found in Lake Superior and they all are very delicious in taste.


The lake’s whitefishes are sometimes called the ‘Humpback’ because their heads are smaller than the length of their bodies. Their tails are deeply forked and have dark-edges. Typically they are silvery to white in color and have olive to light greenish-brown backs.


The Whitefish eat things from the bottom of the lake because they live nearer to the seafloor. Adult whitefish are used to eating small fishes, snails, shrimps and amphipods. Young whitefish on the other hand, eat microscopic animals and larvae as they are small and are not able to eat what their adults consume.


The whitefish lays its eggs from October to December. In these months, Lake Superior’s shallow water temperature falls below 7⁰C. The whitefish start laying eggs at night over small rocks near the shores of the lake. It comes up to the water surface and releases eggs and sperm.  Around 10,000 eggs are laid by the whitefish which then hatch in early spring season. The number of eggs produced depends upon the size of the female fish. Large sized female whitefish can lay around 130,000 eggs in a year.


The chief predators of the young whitefish are burbot, salmon, lake trout and northern pike. These fishes love to eat the young whitefish as they are small in size and relatively easy to catch. The adult whitefish try to save them from humans as they are their biggest predators. Besides humans, the sea lamprey is another nemesis of the adult whitefish.


Lake Superior Whitefish that’s is crusted with horseradish Dijon and doused with a beurre blanc sauce is a delicacy so let’s take a closer look at this popular fish.



Native Americans of the area cherished the whitefish for ages because of its distinctive flavors. Due to the taste and texture of this fish, early explorers helped spread the appreciation of the Lake Superior whitefish throughout America.


Flavor Profile

Those who particularly “don’t like fish” can enjoy Lake Superior whitefish, a versatile fish with a sweet, light flavor. It adapts easily to any method of cooking and its mildness makes it perfect for a variety of dishes. Nutritionally speaking, whitefish is a high quality protein with omega 3’s, vitamins, and minerals.


Today, Lake Superior Fishery is healthy, sustainable, and scientifically managed. The commercial fishery is strictly regulated and managed by Tribal, state, federal, and Canadian governments.


Fun Facts

1.  Lake whitefish require cool, well oxygenated water in the summertime, that’s why it is so prosperous in Lake Superior

2.  The largest lake whitefish on record weighed 42.67 lbs

3.  Whitefish is know for its richness and delicacy of flavor

4.  Fannie Farmer’s 1918 Boston Cooking school cookbook calls whitefish “the finest fish found in the Great Lakes.”

5.  The Native American word for whitefish is Adikameg

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