Fish and Aquatic Conservation

illustration of a Lake herring

Lake herring

Coregonus artedi, (Lesueur, 1818)

Cool Facts

The heaviest reported weight of a Lake herring is 3.4 kg (7.5 lbs.) and the oldest reported age for this species is 11 years. Lake Herring are now making a comeback in Lake Superior and Lake Huron. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration allows Coregonus artedi to be sold under three different names which include cisco, lake herring, and tullibe.

SIZE: The common length for Lake herring is 29.3 cm (11.5 in) with the maximum reported length being 57 cm (22.4 in).

RANGE: Lake herring are found in the St. Lawrence River, the Great Lakes and the Arctic Ocean. In Canada they extend from Quebec to the Northwest Territories and Alberta. Within the United States, Lake herring can be found in northern Ohio, Illinois and Minnesota.

HABITAT: Lake Herring inhabit the open waters of lakes, rivers and the coastal waters of Hudson Bay. They specifically require cold, oxygenated water to thrive and normally are found in the cooler water below the thermocline in lakes where thermal stratification develops.

DIET: Lake herring feed on plankton and large crustaceans and fish eggs.

Natural History

Adult cisco or lake herring spawn in the late fall over many types of substrate, but utilize gravel and other types of stony substrate more than any other.


There are both recreational and commercial fisheries for Lake herring. There are commercial fisheries for Lake herring in Lake Superior and Lake Huron’s North Channel.

Eutrophication and the pollution of inland waters pose substantial threats to Lake herring populations. The decrease and loss of important forage species such as Diporeia (a tiny shrimp-like creature) can also impact these populations.