Jason M. Robinson, DEC's Unit Leader -- Lake Erie Fisheries Research, (left) and James L. Markham, fish biologist with the Lake Erie Fisheries Research Unit, (right) tag lake trout on Lake Erie in 2017, leading to discovery of the fry. Photo Credit: DEC

Animals USA29. September 2021

Welcome Back, Fishies: Lake Trout Is Alive and Growing Again

Thought to be completely eradicated from Lake Erie, United States, wild lake trout have been found – and they’re reproducing once again!

Due to its record-setting weight and size, the lake trout has a long history of being prey to commercial fishing. As early as the late 1800s, the lake trout population had significantly declined in Lake Erie, and commercial fishing for lake trout in this region did not end until the 1930s. 

Conservation efforts began in 1982; nearly 40 years later, the lake trout population is finally improving. They are mating naturally, and their eggs are surviving. The Department of Environmental Conservation marked it a significant milestone, adding, “Following decades of research, this finding validates that restoring wild lake trout populations is attainable.” 

Though the work is not finished, researchers and biologists are finally reaping the reward of their decades-long effort: lake trout once again swim, mate, and live in Great Lake Erie. 


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