Smallmouth bass in stream
Smallmouth Bass

USFWS photo

About 60 species of native and non-native fish are present in the lakes and streams of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and the nearshore waters of Lake Superior. The park's many beautiful fishing locations attract anglers of all kinds.

Major cool water game species include smallmouth bass, northern pike, walleye, yellow perch, and non-native smelt and coho salmon. Typical trout species found in the lakeshore are brook trout, lake trout and non-native rainbow trout or "steelhead." White sucker, minnows, darters, sculpin, shiners, dace, and sunfish species are also common.

For several decades before and after the establishment of the national lakeshore, the Michigan Department of Natural Resource stocked game fish species in several inland lakes. Because park management seeks to foster naturally reproducing populations of native fish, stocking of game fish no longer occurs.

From 1997 to 2005 coaster brook trout, a brook trout that spends much of its life cycle in Lake Superior, was experimentally re-introduced in the Mosquito River, Sevenmile Creek and Hurricane River, in concert with a Lake Superior-wide restoration program. From 2008 to 2011, non-native steelhead trout and coho salmon were removed from Sevenmile Creek as part of a study to determine how their absence would affect native brook trout population levels, as well as their movement patterns and behavior.

The lakeshore has also been involved in a NPS Great Lakes Network research project to detect toxic chemicals and other contaminants in fish. Since 2008, northern pike and yellow perch (along with other species) from the park's four largest lakes have been tested for a variety of toxins including mercury, lead, DDT, and PCBs. Along with the park's extensive water quality testing, the data from this project will help park scientists better understand the interactions between toxins and wildlife health.
Sea lamprey on the ground, showing head and gill area
Sea Lamprey


Non-Native Fish
Nearly 20 of Lake Superior's fish species are non-native, and some, like sea lamprey, are highly damaging to native animals and the environment. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conducts sea lamprey control in several national lakeshore streams each year. The park works to keep out other non-native fish and fish diseases like Viral Hemorrhagic Syndrome (VHS) from entering its inland waters.


Fish at Pictured Rocks

  • Alewife Alosa pseudoharengus 
  • American Brook Lamprey Lampetra appendix
  • Black Bullhead Ictalurus melas
  • Blacknose Shiner Notropis heterolepis 
  • Blackchin Shiner Notropis heterodon 
  • Bluegill Lepomis macrochirus 
  • Bluntnose Minnow Pimephales notatus 
  • Brook Lamprey Lampetra lamottei 
  • Brook Stickleback Culaea inconstans 
  • Brook Trout (and Coaster Brook) Salvelinus fontinalis 
  • Brown Bullhead Ictalurus nebulosus
  • Brown Trout Salmo trutta 
  • Burbot Lota lota
  • Central Mudminnow Umbra limi 
  • Chinook Salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha 
  • Cisco (Lake Herring) Coregonuns arteclii 
  • Common Shiner Notropis cornutus 
  • Coho Salmon Oncorhynchus kisutch 
  • Creek Chub Semotilus atromaculatus 
  • Emerald Shiner Notropis atherinoides 
  • Fathead Minnow Pimephales promelas 
  • Finescale Dace Phoxinus neogaeus 
  • Golden Shiner Notemigonus crysoleucas
  • Green Sunfish Lepomis cyanellus
  • Iowa Darter Etheostoma exile 
  • Johnny Darter Etheostoma nigrum
  • Lake Chub Couesius plumbeus
  • Lake Trout Salvelinus namaycush 
  • Lake Whitefish Coregonus clupeaformis 
  • Largemouth Bass Micropterus salmoides 
  • Logperch Percina caprodes 
  • Longnose Dace Rhinichthys cataractae 
  • Longnose Sucker Catostomus catostomus
  • Mottled Sculpin Cottus bairdii 
  • Muskellunge Esox masquinongy 
  • Ninespine Stickleback Pungitius pungitius 
  • Northern Brook Lamprey Ichthyomyzon fossor 
  • Northern Pike Esox lucius 
  • Pearl Dace Semotilus margarita 
  • Pink Salmon Oncorhynchus gorbuscha
  • Pumpkinseed Lepomis gibbosus 
  • Rainbow Trout (Steelhead) Oncorhynchus mykiss 
  • Round Whitefish Prosopium cylindraceum
  • Redbelly Dace Phoxinus eos 
  • Rock Bass Ambloplites rupestris 
  • Sand Shiner Notropis stramineus
  • Sea Lamprey Petromyzon marinus 
  • Slimy Sculpin Cottus cognatus
  • Smallmouth Bass Micropterus dolomieu 
  • Smelt Osmerus mordax 
  • Splake Salvelinus fontinalis X S. namaycush 
  • Spottail Shiner Notropis hudsonius 
  • Threespine Stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus 
  • Trout-perch Percopsis omiscomaycus
  • Walleye Sander vitreus 
  • Western Blacknose Dace Rhinichthys obtuscus
  • White Sucker Catostomus commersoni 
  • Yellow Perch Perca flavescens 

Last updated: November 23, 2021

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