Lake Trout Vs. Splake (How To Tell Them Apart)

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The distinction between lake trout and splake, two fish species that exhibit genetic hybridization, can present challenges due to their similar characteristics. Splake, derived from the crossbreeding of female lake trout and male brook trout, are named after the combination of ‘speckled trout’ and ‘lake trout’.

Differentiating between these species entails an examination of body coloration, shape, and tail characteristics. Splake typically possess a darker body coloration and a more streamlined body shape compared to lake trout. While lake trout have a deeply forked tail, splake exhibit a slightly forked and less pointed tail.

Furthermore, disparities in size and weight exist between the two species. Splake are comparatively smaller, averaging 10-18 inches in length and weighing 4-8 pounds, whereas lake trout can attain lengths of 25-40 inches and weigh 10-20 pounds.

Although fishing techniques for both species are similar, lighter gear and tackle are recommended for splake fishing. Both lake trout and splake offer palatable qualities, with splake offering a unique blend of flavors derived from lake and brook trout.

Key Takeaways

  • Splake are a genetic hybrid of female lake trout and male brook trout, resulting in similar appearance.
  • Body coloration and shape are key characteristics to differentiate between lake trout and splake.
  • Splake generally have darker body coloration and a slimmer, more streamlined body shape compared to lake trout.
  • The shape of the tail can also be used to distinguish between the two species, with lake trout having a deeply forked tail and splake having a slightly forked and less pointy tail.

Difference in Appearance

The difference in appearance between lake trout and splake can be determined by examining body coloration, body shape, and the shape of the tail.

Due to their genetic hybridization, lake trout and splake share similar characteristics. However, there are distinct features that can help differentiate between the two species.

Body coloration is a key characteristic, with splake generally having darker coloration compared to lake trout. Additionally, water turbidity can affect the body coloration of splake.

Body shape is another distinguishing factor, as splake tend to have a slimmer and more streamlined body shape compared to lake trout.

The shape of the tail can also be used to differentiate between the two species, with lake trout having a deeply forked tail, while splake have a slightly forked and less pointy tail.

Body Coloration

Body coloration is a distinguishing characteristic between the two species, with splake generally exhibiting a darker hue compared to lake trout. The differences in body coloration can be attributed to the role of genetics in the hybridization process.

Splake, being a combination of female lake trout and male brook trout, inherit genetic traits from both parent species. This genetic combination results in a darker body coloration for splake compared to lake trout. However, it is important to note that water turbidity can also influence the body coloration of splake, as it can affect the visibility and reflection of light on their scales.

Despite these variations in coloration, both lake trout and splake can display a range of colors, including shades of green, brown, and gray, making it necessary to consider other characteristics for accurate differentiation between the two species.

Water Turbidity Effect

Water turbidity can influence the body coloration of splake, potentially affecting the visibility and reflection of light on their scales. Turbidity refers to the cloudiness or haziness of water caused by suspended particles, such as sediment or organic matter.

When water is turbid, it can alter the appearance of fish, including their body coloration. In the case of splake, which generally have darker body coloration compared to lake trout, water turbidity can make their coloration appear even darker. This can make it more challenging to differentiate between splake and lake trout based on body color alone.

Additionally, the presence of suspended particles in turbid water can also affect the way light is reflected off the scales of the fish, further impacting their appearance.

Therefore, water turbidity plays a significant role in the identification of splake and lake trout, as it can affect their body coloration and make differentiation more difficult.

Body Shape

One distinguishing factor between lake trout and splake is their body shape. While both fish share similar body coloration, their shape differs significantly. Here are some key differences between their body shape and other physical characteristics:

  1. Body shape vs. body coloration: Splake tend to have a slimmer and more streamlined body shape compared to lake trout. This can make them appear more elongated and sleek in the water. In contrast, lake trout have a bulkier and more rounded body shape.

  2. Body shape vs. tail shape: Another way to differentiate between lake trout and splake is by examining their tail shape. Lake trout have a deeply forked tail, whereas splake have a slightly forked and less pointy tail. This difference in tail shape can be used as a visual clue when identifying these fish.

Understanding the distinctions in body shape and tail shape can help anglers and researchers accurately identify whether they have caught a lake trout or a splake.

Tail Shape

The distinction between lake trout and splake can also be observed in their distinct tail shapes.

While lake trout have a deeply forked tail, splake have a slightly forked and less pointy tail.

This difference in tail shape is a result of their genetic hybridization and can be a useful characteristic for differentiating between the two species.

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The tail shape of a fish is important for its swimming ability and maneuverability in its habitat.

Splake, being a combination of female lake trout and male brook trout, tend to have a slimmer and more streamlined body shape compared to lake trout.

This streamlined body shape, along with the slightly forked tail, allows splake to navigate more easily in their habitat, which is typically shallower waters compared to lake trout.

These tail fin adaptations contribute to the splake’s ability to move swiftly and efficiently in their environment.

Size and Weight

Moving on from discussing the distinguishing characteristic of tail shape, we now shift our focus to the size and weight differences between lake trout and splake.

These parameters play a crucial role in distinguishing between the two species and understanding their respective growth patterns.

On average, splake do not grow as large as their parent species, with lengths ranging from 10 to 18 inches. In contrast, lake trout have the potential to reach impressive lengths of 25 to 40 inches.

Similarly, when it comes to weight, splake tend to be lighter, weighing in at around 4 to 8 pounds, while lake trout can tip the scales at 10 to 20 pounds.

These disparities in size and weight provide a useful framework for identifying and differentiating between lake trout and splake.

Intestinal Appendages

Another distinguishing characteristic that can be used to differentiate between lake trout and splake is the number of intestinal appendages.

Lake trout typically have a higher number of intestinal appendages compared to splake. While lake trout have an average of 120-180 intestinal appendages, splake usually have 65-85.

This difference in the number of intestinal appendages can be a reliable way to accurately identify the species. It is important to note that this characteristic is specific to lake trout and splake, and may not apply to other fish species.

The variation in the number of intestinal appendages is a result of the genetic hybridization between female lake trout and male brook trout that gives rise to the splake. Understanding this distinction can aid in distinguishing between lake trout and splake during fishing or scientific studies.

Fishing Techniques for Lake Trout

Fishing techniques utilized for catching lake trout include jigging, trolling, and ice fishing. Jigging is a popular method for targeting lake trout, especially in deeper waters. Anglers use heavy jigs with live bait or artificial lures, such as tube jigs or spoons, to entice lake trout to bite. Jigging techniques involve vertically raising and lowering the jig in the water column to imitate the movement of prey. Trolling is another effective technique for catching lake trout. Anglers use downriggers or planer boards to troll with lures or bait behind a moving boat. This method allows for covering a larger area and varying depths to locate active fish. It is important to match the trolling speed and lure depth to the preferences of the lake trout. By utilizing these fishing techniques, anglers can increase their chances of success in catching lake trout.

Technique Description
Jigging Vertical movement of a heavy jig with live bait or artificial lures to mimic prey.
Trolling Using downriggers or planer boards to pull lures or bait behind a moving boat.

Fishing Techniques for Splake

Moving on to fishing techniques for splake, it is worth noting that the same methods used for lake trout can be applied to splake fishing. However, there are a few key differences to consider.

When targeting splake, it is advisable to use lighter gear and tackle compared to lake trout fishing. Splake tend to inhabit shallower depths, so adjusting your fishing location accordingly is crucial.

To maximize your chances of success, inline spinners and slip bobber rigs have proven to be effective tools for enticing splake. These lures can mimic the natural prey of splake and increase your chances of a successful catch.

Additionally, understanding splake habitat preferences, such as their preference for cooler waters and rocky areas, can further enhance your fishing experience.

By employing these splake fishing tips, you can increase your chances of a rewarding and memorable fishing trip.

  • The thrill of landing a splake in shallow waters
  • Watching the mesmerizing dance of an inline spinner in the water
  • Feeling the anticipation build as your slip bobber disappears beneath the surface
  • The satisfaction of reeling in a splake that couldn’t resist your perfectly presented lure

Eating and Cooking

When it comes to the culinary experience, both splake and lake trout offer delicious options for cooking and eating. The taste of splake combines the flavors of lake and brook trout, resulting in a unique and delightful dining experience. On the other hand, lake trout has a stronger fish flavor compared to splake.

For those looking to try their hand at cooking these fish, there are various recipe recommendations available. Lake trout can be cooked, fried, smoked, baked, or grilled to bring out its distinct flavors. It pairs well with a variety of seasonings and can be served with vegetables or sauces.

Splake, with its combination of flavors, can also be prepared using similar cooking methods. Grilling or baking splake with a light seasoning can enhance its taste. Experimenting with different recipes and flavors can provide a truly enjoyable dining experience with both splake and lake trout.

Conclusion

In conclusion, distinguishing between lake trout and splake can be challenging due to their genetic hybridization. However, by examining their body coloration, shape, and tail characteristics, it is possible to differentiate between the two species.

Splake have darker body coloration, a slimmer body shape, and a slightly forked tail compared to lake trout. Additionally, splake are smaller in size and require lighter fishing gear.

Both species are delicious to eat, with splake offering a unique combination of flavors from lake and brook trout.

kimberly
About the author

Kimberly is an experienced angler and outdoor enthusiast with a passion for all things fishing. She has been honing her skills on the water for over 7 years, mastering various techniques and tactics for both freshwater and saltwater fishing.

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