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lake whitefish

lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis)
Photo © Paul Vecsei/Engbretson Underwater Photography

Features and Behaviors


The lake whitefish has a small head with a short snout. Two flaps are present between the nostril openings. The body shape is deep laterally, and an adipose fin is present. The back color is green to olive-gray. The sides and belly are silver. The average size for an adult lake whitefish is about two feet in length and five pounds in weight.


Lake whitefish swim in schools. They hunt for food near the bottom of the lake. This species eats plankton, crustaceans, mollusks and insect larvae. Spawning occurs in shallow water during November and December. The eggs hatch in April or May.

Illinois Range


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Salmoniformes
Family: Salmonidae

Illinois Status: common, native