The second largest of the salmonids and the largest member of the char family, the lake trout shares the same basic shape as other trout, salmon and char. The lake trout’s body is grayish-brown with white spots that extend to the upper fins. Their head is generally larger than that of other char and the tail is deeply forked. Like other char, the lake trout has white leading edges on its lower fins.
Consistent fly fishing for lake trout can be found in the Canadian interior and in Alaska, where the waters they inhabit stay cool throughout the year, making shallow water angling possible.
As the name implies, the lake trout lives in cool waters of large, deep lakes. In the northern reaches of its range, the lake trout can live in shallow lakes, where the water stays cold throughout the year. In the southern reaches, however, the lake trout will need cold, deep water to survive. Lake trout can also be found in cold, deep rivers and very rarely inhabits brackish water.
Lake trout are found in deep, cool lakes in the uppermost portions of North America. Their range covers countless thousands of square miles. The southern limit of the lake trout’s range dips as low as Montana in the west and New York and New England in the east. Virtually all of Canada lies within the lake trout’s range, with the notable exception of Newfoundland and portions of British Columbia. The northern limits of the range extend well into the Arctic to the southernmost coastal islands and west to include most of Alaska.