The Whitefish is sometimes referred to as a "humpback" fish due to its disproportionately small head in comparison to the length of its body. On average, Whitefish weigh around 7kg (4 lb). They can grow to 79 cm (31 in) but are more frequently seen around 51 cm (20 in) in length. The largest Whitefish caught on rod and reel was over 7 kg (15 lb) in Clear Lake in Ontario Canada in 1983. It is a valuable commercial fish that is occasionally taken for consumption by sport fishermen as well. Whitefish fillets are also available in some North American grocery stores.

Whitefish caught at Andorra Lodge, Ontario
Whitefish caught at Andorra Lodge

Where to Find Whitefish

Whitefish are cool water fish. They are found in many inland lakes, and they have been known to enter brackish waters (where salt and fresh water meet) as well. They are found throughout much of Canada and parts of the northern United States, including all of the 5 Great Lakes.

Understanding Whitefish Behavior

Whitefish like cold water. They spawn around the first ice on shoals where Northern Pike will quickly chase them into shallow water. There they will feed on crustaceans and insects predominantly. Whitefish like to feed along the bottom of the drop-off near the shore where a nice shelf forms. In the summer, they can be seen on the shoal on the lake side of a weed bed (as opposed to the shore-side) and use of the bottom edge of the drop-off to congregate where there is an inflow, bringing a steady supply of nutrients to support their prey and of course the prey themselves .

How to Catch Whitefish

Many anglers enjoy catching Whitefish in the months of June, July and early August. A simple line and jig is adequate enough to catch the fish as they feast on mayflies and midges. In winter months, catching Whitefish through the ice is very popular as well. Effective ice fishing techniques include using a jigging spoon, with one or more "slider hooks" above and separated from the spoon with a barrel swivel. All hooks are then tipped with wax worms. Be sure to check to local/provincial websites for the specific conservation guidelines and regulations

Cold Water Whitefish