Description

Appearance

  • Mountain whitefish have large scales, no spots and small mouths with no teeth.
  • The general body colour is a bronze-white or greenish white.

Distribution

  • Mountain whitefish are native to most of the waters of western Alberta. In Alberta, this fish is often called Rocky Mountain whitefish.
  • They move in large groups or schools from pool to pool. Adult mountain whitefish undertake spawning migrations in the fall and feeding migrations in the spring.

Natural History

Habitat

  • These fish are more adaptable in their environmental requirements than other cold-water sport fishes. They have maintained large populations in many streams.
  • Large hydroelectric reservoirs often provide suitable habitat for these fish, and large populations are often present.

Food

  • Mountain whitefish feed primarily on bottom-dwelling aquatic insects, but will also feed on terrestrial insects on the surface, or even on other smaller fish and fish eggs.

Reproduction and Growth

Breeding Behaviour

  • Mountain whitefish feed primarily on bottom-dwelling aquatic insects, but will also feed on terrestrial insects on the surface, or even on other smaller fish and fish eggs.
  • No nest is built. Eggs and milt (milky secretion of male sperm cells) are deposited directly on the bottom material.
  • Eggs hatch in early to mid-March.

Conservation and Management

Status

Mountain whitefish are classified as Secure in the current General Status of Alberta Wild Species report:

Current management

Fishing

Mountain whitefish are cold-water game fish subject to current Alberta sportfishing regulations. For details, see the My Wild Alberta website at:

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