Ever wondered what kind of fish are in the Great Lakes, keep reading. The Great Lakes are among the largest in the world, holding almost 20% of the Earth’s freshwater. The five lakes, Superior, Huron (and Michigan), Ontario, Erie, and Superior (and Huron) all lie on the border between Canada and United States.
List Of Types Of Fish Found In The Great Lakes
Because of their size, they have a major impact on life around them. The lakes are home to many different kinds of fish, some unique to the Great Lakes. The most common type of fish found in the great lakes is salmon, trout, and bass. There are also unique creatures like sturgeon, lake whitefish, and smelt.
Kinds Of Fish In The Great Lakes
Lake trout: The lake trout lives in the deep dark water of the Great Lakes. Its color ranges from brown to black, sometimes with red or green spots. These fish grow to very large sizes and are some of the most popular game fish found in lakes Superior, Michigan, and Huron.
Yellow Perch: Yellow perch spend most of their lives in the shallow water areas of lakes Michigan, Huron, and Erie. These fish are brown to olive green with light speckles on their sides. Their mouths are filled with small sharp teeth perfect for catching smaller fish to eat.
Yellow cisco: The yellow cisco is a deep-water fish found in Lake Superior. Its name comes from its color, which is yellowish. It likes shallower waters than the lake trout, but deeper water than other fish in Lake Superior. Its mouth has very small teeth that help it catch squid and plankton.
Ruffe: The ruffe is a species of perch that lives on the bottoms of lakes Erie, Huron, and Michigan. They are olive green colored with yellowish-brown stripes on the sides. They have large pectoral fins that help them side along the lake bottom to catch small fish for food.
Burbot: The burbot is a catfish-like fish found in Lake Superior, having long whiskers on its chin. They are olive-colored with yellowish sides and white bellies. The burbot is one of the deepest living fish in Lake Superior, found at depths up to 1500 meters.
Whitefish: Whitefish prefer the colder waters of Lake Superior and can be found in deep water areas near rock outcroppings where they hide from larger fish that prey on them. These fish are white in color with red spots and stripes, but sometimes they can be brown if the water is dirty. They grow to about one foot long.
White sturgeon: Sticking out of the water like an ancient dinosaur, the white sturgeon looks like something out of a prehistoric forest. Their scales are brown with white spots, giving them an overall light grey appearance. The largest ever caught was 10 feet long and weighed 1800 pounds! They are mostly bottom feeders in the turbid waters of Lake Michigan.
Common carp: Another bottom feeder, the common carp is one of the larger fish in the Great Lakes. Their scales are golden yellow on a greenish-blue body and a silver-gray tail. They have a large mouth that they use to scoop up mud from the bottom of lakes Erie and Michigan where it likes to feed.
Banded killifish: The banded killifish is a fish found in most lakes with warmer waters. Their bodies are typically dark brown or black but sometimes will have a blue sheen. The killifish prefers the shallow waters of lakes Michigan, Erie, and Ontario where it can hide during the day and comes out to feed at night.
Brown bullhead: Brown bullheads are catfish-like fish that also prefer shallower waters around rocks and vegetation. They are brown in color with a white underbelly and the top of their head has a spiny ridge. They have a fairly flat snout, perfect for digging up invertebrates from the bottom.
Lake herring: Sometimes referred to as “lake shiners”, these small silvery fish are common in most lakes with warmer waters. Adults spawn near the shoreline in large schools of thousands of fish. They eat insect larvae, algae, and other plant matter.
Types Of Fish Found In The Great Lakes
The different types of fish are a food source for larger animals like birds, otters, and bears. When they die, their bodies provide food on the bottom of the lake for organisms that can’t swim to the surface to eat plankton.
There is also a special group of animals called “copepods” that live in fish poop and decomposing fish. There are over 160 species of copepods that live in the Great Lakes, turning dead fish into food for other animals.
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