Scientific Name: Salvelinus namaycush
Identifying Characteristics: Like all salmonids, lake trout have a fleshy adipose fin located between the dorsal fin and caudal fin (tail). The body of a lake trout is typically a dark olive background with light colored (whitish) spots that are wavy and irregular in shape, or vermiculations. Lake trout are characterized by a deeply forked caudal fin (tail) and markings on the dorsal fin. Like bull trout, lake trout often have white margins on many of the lower fins. Red or orange spots are not found as in brook and bull trout.
Status: Not native to the Pend Oreille Watershed. Lake trout are classified as a “game species” by WDFW.
Distribution: In 1925, the U.S. Fish Commission first introduced lake trout into Lake Pend Oreille and the Priest Lake system in Idaho (GEI Consultants 2004). Currently, distribution is mainly limited to lakes, but they are occasionally found in the mainstem Pend Oreille River and are believed to be “fall-outs” from Lake Pend Oreille and Priest Lake in Idaho. Abundance, productivity, and genetic diversity are unknown.
Species Notes: Lake trout, as adults, are almost exclusively piscivorous (fish eating) and have the ability to attain large sizes. Due to the impacts on the Kokanee fishery as well as westslope cutthroat trout and bull trout populations, there is currently a $15 per fish bounty on lake trout in Lake Pend Oreille (IDFG). Netting efforts in Lake Pend Oreille and the Priest Lakes have and are continuing to occur to further reduce the abundance of lake trout in these systems.