Post date: Monday, March 5, 2012 - 20:51
Updated date: 2/6/17
Prosopium cylindraceum - Round Whitefish, Menominee, Frostfish, Pilot


The round whitefish is closely related to the mountain whitefish. Seasonal migrations sometimes bring them close to shore, where enterprising anglers pursue them with small baits and lures.  Round Whitefish are sensitive species, intolerant of pollution and environmental degradation.  Round Whitefish were once found in at least 60 different lakes in the Adirondacks, but have become extirpated in all but six of them and are are now classified as Endangered in New York State.


Other Names:  Menominee, Frost Fish, Pilot, Roundfish, Savigunac, Shad Waiter, Grayback



The round whitefish is a medium-sized, silvery fish, averaging 8-12 inches in length and occasionally reaching 22 inches. Its body shape is long and tubular with a nearly round midsection. Its head is short and its mouth is small. The round whitefish is shiny olive-brown on top shading to pure silver below.




Any coldwater lake or stream can provide good habitat for Round Whitefish.  Many lakes and rivers in Alaska and Northwestern Canada are home to this species.  They are found in all the Great Lakes except Lake Erie, and many lakes in the interior of New England. Lake Superior and its tributaries are excellent locations for these fish, and they have been known to migrate considerable distances against heavy current. 





Round whitefish feed at or near the bottom, mainly on small aquatic creatures. They have very small mouths, so scale down your baits or lures when pursuing this elusive fish.  Hooks in the #10-14 range are appropriate.  Baits for Round Whitefish include small pieces of worm, scuds, fish eggs, or aquatic insects, and should be presented on or very near the bottom.  Effective flies for Round Whitefish include any of the smaller trout nymphs as well as egg imitations.



Typical of this family, Round Whitefish are delicious whether broiled, baked, smoked, or fried.

Range Map

Photo Credits:

TonyS, Mitch, Corey Geving, Andy Geving

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