New Great Lakes-Wide Fish Identification Guide is Accurate Aid for Anglers
Great Lakes Sustainable Recreational and Commercial Fisheries - News


Jesse Lepak, New York Sea Grant Fisheries and Ecosystem Health Specialist, E:, P: 315.312.3042

Ithaca, NY, March 15, 2019 - New York Sea Grant’s (NYSG) first-ever full-color visual identification guide for the salmon and trout species found in Lake Ontario, which was released in Spring 2012, is the inspiration for a new Great Lakes-wide brochure produced by Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant in collaboration with NYSG as well as Sea Grant programs in Michigan and Wisconsin.

Salmon and Trout of the Great Lakes: A Visual Identification Guide (pdf) illustrates the differences among the species, improving correct identification by anglers.

The Great Lakes are home to eight species of salmon and trout. These species can be difficult to distinguish from each other as they overlap in their distributions and change appearance depending on their habitat and the time of year.

As with the original guide, artist Peter Thompson drew the nearly three dozen illustrations in this new one, all of which are anatomically accurate for fish that are often commonly misidentified species.

This illustrated, peer-reviewed, two-page guide, courtesy of the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network, shows important body features and helpful tips to identify and distinguish between salmon and trout species in the Great Lakes.

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

The authors include NYSG's Great Lakes Fisheries Specialist Jesse Lepak, Michigan Sea Grant's Dan O'Keefe, IL-IN Sea Grant's Mitchell Zischke and Wisconsin Sea Grant's Titus Seilheimer. The original Lake Ontario-focused brochure was created by New York Sea Grant's Great Lakes Fisheries Specialist Dave MacNeil (retired) and NYSG's Great Lakes Coastal Community Development Specialist Mary Austerman.

More Info: New York Sea Grant

New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York (SUNY), is one of 33 university-based programs under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant College Program.

Since 1971, NYSG has represented a statewide network of integrated research, education and extension services promoting coastal community economic vitality, environmental sustainability and citizen awareness and understanding about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources.

Through NYSG’s efforts, the combined talents of university scientists and extension specialists help develop and transfer science-based information to many coastal user groups—businesses and industries, federal, state and local government decision-makers and agency managers, educators, the media and the interested public.

The program maintains Great Lakes offices at Cornell University, SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Oswego and the Wayne County Cooperative Extension office in Newark. In the State's marine waters, NYSG has offices at Stony Brook University in Long Island, Brooklyn College and Cornell Cooperative Extension in NYC and Kingston in the Hudson Valley.

For updates on Sea Grant activities: has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube links. NYSG offers a free e-list sign up via for its flagship publication, NY Coastlines/Currents, which is published quarterly. Our program also produces an occasional e-newsletter,"NOAA Sea Grant's Social Media Review," via its blog,

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