New Lake Ontario Fish Identification Guide is Accurate Aid for Anglers
Great Lakes Sustainable Recreational and Commercial Fisheries - Press Release


  • David B. MacNeill, New York Sea Grant, Fisheries Specialist, E:, P: 315-312-3042

  • Mary E. Penney, New York Sea Grant, Great Lakes Coastal Community Development Specialist, E:, P: 315-312-3042

Oswego, NY, April 6, 2012 - New York Sea Grant’s new first-ever full-color visual identification guide for the salmon and trout species found in Lake Ontario is now available. “Salmon and Trout of Lake Ontario: A Visual Identification Guide” illustrates the differences among the species, improving correct identification by anglers.

New York Sea Grant Coastal Community Development Specialist Mary E. Penney says, “This project was designed to improve the correct identification of Lake Ontario’s trout and salmon, and encourage ecologically-responsible angling and fish conservation.”

The guide’s 23 illustrations by artist Peter Thompson are anatomically accurate for fish that are often commonly misidentified species.

For example, says New York Sea Grant Fisheries Specialist David B. MacNeill, “There are fine physical differences between species such as Atlantic salmon and brown trout and steelhead and the female Coho salmon. This new guide allows viewers to more carefully distinguish between these species and follow the various angling regulations prescribed for them.”

The guide clearly identifies distinct fin, tail and mouth features for Atlantic, Chinook, Coho and the rarely seen pink salmon; and brown, brook, lake and steelhead/rainbow trout. The different life stages of the fish are also illustrated.

The guide is printed on waterproof, tear-resistant paper and folds to store easily in a typical tackle box.

New York Sea Grant collaborated with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to produce the guide with funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant College Program.

The authors include Sea Grant’s MacNeill and Penney with NYSDEC Region 7 National Resources Supervisor Dan Bishop, NYSDEC Salmon River Coordinator Fran Verdoliva, and USGS Ecologist and Eastern Basin Ecosystems Branch Chief Jim Johnson. Great Lakes Fishery Commission Lake Ontario Sport Fishery Advisor Charles D. Blaas, retired Morrisville State College Provost, provided technical review.

“Lake Ontario experts partnered to produce this new fisheries resource for New York’s resident and visiting anglers. Use of the guide will promote wiser use of Lake Ontario fisheries and empower the public to play a more active role in maintaining sustainable salmonine recreational fisheries,” says Dr. Katherine Bunting-Howarth, Assistant Director for Cornell Cooperative Extension Coastal Programs, Ithaca, NY.

The guide (pdf) will be available at New York Sea Grant Aquatic Invasive Species and Watercraft Inspection Educators programs and other educational events along the Lake Ontario shoreline.

New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a statewide network of integrated research, education and extension services promoting coastal vitality, environmental sustainability, and citizen awareness about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources, has been “Bringing Science to the Shore” for more than 40 years. NYSG, one of 32 university-based programs under the National Sea Grant College Program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is a cooperative program of the State University of New York and Cornell University. The National Sea Grant College Program engages this network of the nation’s top universities in conducting scientific research, education, training and extension projects designed to foster science-based decisions about the use and conservation of our aquatic resources. 

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