About the Salmon & Trout Species of Lake Michigan
Our sports fishing clients have the opportunity to catch a variety of fish species. We will be targeting different salmon and trout. Here are some fun facts about each species.
Chinook or King Salmon
Great Lakes Chinooks (king salmon) are called “king” for a reason! This prize-fighter of a fish is a trophy to reel in and the most sought-after catch on the Big Lake. Mature adults range from 14-20 pounds. Distinguishing features include black mouth and gums, spots covering the entire top to tail, and 15-19 rays on the anal fin.
Coho salmon are among the first sport fish to catch in early spring and weigh between 2-5 pounds. Though smaller in size than king salmon, they are just as feisty. Their reputation as aggressive and exciting sport fish is reason enough to get out on the water. Not to mention they’re delectable on the dinner table. Distinguishing features of coho salmon include black mouth with white gums, spotted upper tail, and 13-15 rays on the anal fin.
Avid fishers angle for lake trout both as energetic sport fish and for eating. Average lake trout weigh in the 9-10 pound range, but much larger catches have been reported. They are identified by “worm-like” irregular spots along the back with lighter spots on the lower body, white mouth, an equally-lobed forked tail, and 8-10 rays on the anal fin. Their color may appear grey, light green, dark brown, or nearly black.
Lake Michigan’s brown trout are prime fishing targets early in spring when their sporting temperament makes them a blast to catch. An average brown trout weighs around 5-6 lbs, and despite the name, are primarily silvery in color. Spotted back (sometimes with x-shaped markings), square tail, white mouth with broad, toothed tongue, and 9-10 rays in the anal fin are other distinguishing features.
Rainbow Trout (Steelhead)
Rainbow trout (steelhead) are known for their distinctive coloring, which fades from darker green or grey on the back and silvery along the belly, often with a pinkish streak along the lateral line. Their features bear some resemblance to salmon but can be distinguished by their white mouths. Black speckled spots appear on the entire tail. The anal fin has between 10 and 12 rays.