Trout – Lake

Salvelinus Namaycush

Market Name(s): Mackinaw Charr Lake Trout Coldwater Trout

Primary Source(s): Widely Distributed from Northern Canada and Alaska (Missing in Southern Prairie Provinces) South to New England and Great Lakes Basin

Size Range:  Up to 15 lbs

Lake trout is a freshwater fish and member of the Char family. They are mainly sourced from Northern Lakes in the USA and Canada.


Lake trout caught in Lake Superior's Minnesota waters with set gillnets or trap nets is a "Best Choice." The population is still recovering from historical declines, but overfishing is not occurring. In addition, there are no bycatch concerns.

Lake trout caught in Lake Superior's Wisconsin waters with set gillnets or trap nets is on the "Avoid" list. The population is still recovering, and overfishing may be occurring. In addition, the catch of other species that are in decline or recovery is a serious concern.

All other Seafood Watch-assessed sources of lake trout caught in the Great Lakes are "Good Alternatives." The Lake Huron population is depleted, but rehabilitation efforts are underway. The Lake Michigan population is historically depleted and still heavily maintained through stocking; however, the fisheries are not impeding lake trout’s recovery. In Lake Superior, there's concern about overfishing in Canadian waters due to unlicensed fishing in part of the lake. All fisheries also catch other species that are in recovery and some catch species that are in decline.

The flaky flesh, which can be either pink or ivory in color should be handled in similar ways to salmon. This elegant and versatile ingredient takes well to sous vide, sautée, oven roast and grill applications. Take caution not to mask its flavor with excessive garnishes or sauces.