Oligotrophic Lake Superior supports fewer reproducing fish species (55) and produces fewer fish per surface area than the other Great Lakes. However, Lake Superior has bragging rights when it comes to fish because it supports a robust suite of native species.
Commercial and recreational fisheries are important on Lake Superior. The health of Lake Superior's fishery has improved tremendously during the last 40 years. For example, the rehabilitation of naturally reproducing lake trout populations has eliminated the need to stock them in many areas. Problems remain for the fishery and the ecosystem, however, like the intentional and unintentional introductions of non-native fish species, habitat destruction, development, and pollution.
Sea Grant strives to improve our knowledge of Lake Superior fisheries by funding research and conducting outreach to understand:
- Food web interactions,
- Fish population and community dynamics,
- Socio-economic impacts of fishery management decisions,
- Contaminants and fish habitat alteration,
- The use of fish as food.
Fish Consumption & Health
- Parasites of Freshwater Fish
- Anglers in Minnesota may encounter non-fish species living on or in their catch. Most likely, the fish is still edible.
- Scientists Find Bird and Human E. coli in Wild Fish
- Fish in the Duluth-Superior Harbor can carry bacteria from other species, which has implications for anglers and beach monitoring programs.
- Eat More and Better Fish
- Minnesota Sea Grant recommends you eat fish, particularly ciscoes (formerly called lake herring) and whitefish from Lake Superior.
- Fish Oil and Your Health
- The discovery that fish oil may have unique benefits in the fight against coronary heart disease has stimulated a tremendous amount of research.
- Siscowet Trout: A Plague of Riches
- Despite Lake Superior’s chilly temperatures and relatively low productivity, it has a lot of fat fish!
- Lake Trout are Heart-Friendly
- Fat can be good for you! Fish oil has been found to help prevent heart attacks. Siscowet lake trout are especially high in omega-3 fatty acids.
- Cisco: Also known as Lake Herring
- This Lake Superior fish has a history with Minnesota's North Shore commercial fishermen. The species has a sustainable future with them as well.
- Fish Sensory Systems
- Sight - taste - touch - smell - hearing. Fish may be cold-blooded, but they're not insensitive.
- Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia: Are Our Fish Doomed?
- Learn how damaging VHSV might be to Minnesota's fisheries.
- Trout, Ciscoes, and Shrimp: News from the Serrated Edge of Science
- Life in the pelagic zone of Lake Superior clearly has its ups and downs. Learn how Great Lakes research is accomplished and why light and predator pressure sends some species to the lake floor.
- Stout Trout Eyed for Market
- Siscowet lake trout were a topic of debate at a workshop this summer. The fatty fish might be abundant enough in Lake Superior to commercially harvest. But would such a fishery be sustainable and economically feasible?
- Pulp Mill Effluent and Fish Don't Mix (Well)
- Endocrine disrupting chemicals found in pulp mill wastewater can impact fish. Five scientists discuss what they learned from Canadian and U.S. rivers surrounding Lake Superior.
- VHS Virus Facts
- A fact sheet about Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia.
- The Mystery of the Missing Smelt
- Many factors have been playing into the fluctuation of the smelt population.
- Sturgeon Deaths
- Why were dead sturgeon washing up around Duluth in the fall of 2006?
- Federal Order about Fish Virus Disrupts Industry, Agencies, and Anglers
- Fish management and fish farming in the Great Lakes has received a significant one-two punch.
- Lake Superior and Michigan Fisheries: A Closer Look
- An examination of the Lake Superior fishery, using Lake Michigan as a reference point.
- Understanding Fisheries Management
- This 36-page PDF document is a manual for understanding what our Great Lakes fishery management decisions are based on and how management decisions are made.
- Smelting on Lake Superior
- Everything you need to know about smelting.
- Estimated Economic Impact of Recreational Fishing on Minnesota Waters of Lake Superior
- The recreational fishing inudustry contributed approximately $9.74 million in direct expenditures to the state in 1990.
- Watch for Nets!
- Learn to identify and avoid commercial fishing nets in Minnesota waters of Lake Superior.
- Cooking Your Catch
- Here’s some general techniques for preparing Great Lakes fish, once you’ve made your catch, including storage, thawing, cooking, as well as five tried-and-true recipes.
- Lake Superior Fish Recipes
- Recipes made with Lake Superior's commercially harvested whitefish, lake herring, ciscoes and lake trout.
- Timetable for Cooking Fish
- How long you cook your fish depends on what form it’s in, as well as your cooking method.
- Upper Great Lakes Fish Boil: A Tasty Tradition
- Learn more about this Great Lakes tradition that has been around for over one hundred years.
- Smelt — Dip Net to Dish
- With dip nets, buckets, and waders in hand, the smelters long to once again feel the exuberance of free flowing water and to try their hand at catching these delicious little fish.
- Craving for Crayfish
- Today, crayfish are appearing in northern grocery stores as more people realize that cooked crayfish are tasty and healthful.
- Aquatic Invasive Species
- Several Aquatic Invasive Species are fish that threaten our ecosystem and economy.
- Aquaculture is the general term used to describe the breeding and rearing of aquatic animals and plants in controlled or selected environments.
- Catching Up With Aquatic Science
- A radio program and podcast about research concerning aquatic systems and coastal communities.
- Superior Science News
- A radio series about Lake Superior research.