The Cisco (Coregonus artedi), also​ known as Lake Herring, is a small‍ species of freshwater whitefish in the family Salmonidae. The name “Cisco” is derived from the Ojibwe language, which describes the fish’s importance as a seasonal food source for the Ojibwe people.

Conservation Status

The Cisco’s current status is “Least Concern” according to the International Union for Conservation of⁣ Nature (IUCN). This classification is due to the species’ wide ⁢distribution and large population, although localized declines have been observed.

Conservation efforts

Efforts to conserve the Cisco involve regulations on ⁣commercial fishing and habitat protection to maintain water quality and prevent habitat destruction.


Average ‍Size Weight Range Average Lifespan
30-40 cm 150-300⁣ g 6-8 years


The⁢ Cisco ​is primarily found in the ​Great Lakes region of North America,⁢ extending eastward to the Atlantic coast and north to Hudson Bay. They are also found in some deep, cold-water lakes in Alaska and Western Canada.

Migration Patterns

Ciscoes undertake a form of migration known as spawning migrations. Each autumn they move⁣ from deeper water to shallow spawning areas.


Ciscoes prefer cold, deep water in large lakes and reservoirs, but can also inhabit brackish ‌coastal waters. They tolerate temperatures between 1-13 °C and live​ at depths ranging from⁣ 5-60 metres.

When and Where to See

Ciscoes are most easily seen during their autumn spawning migrations. These occur from late October to early December, peaking in November. Prime viewing times are​ early​ morning and late evening.

Best Fishing Locations

Top⁤ fishing locations for cisco include Lake Superior,‍ Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, Lake Ontario, and Lake Erie in North ⁢America. They can also be found in Lake Winnipeg, Great ⁤Slave⁣ Lake, and Lake Athabasca in Canada.

How to Catch

The preferred ​lures for catching cisco include small jigs, spoons, and soft plastic baits. Ciscoes can be caught through a variety of techniques, including⁣ angling and trolling.

Identification Guide

Physical characteristics of the Cisco include ⁢silver sides, a ‌blue or green-blue back, and a white belly. Their bodies are ​slim and elongated, with large scales.

Culinary Profile

Ciscos have a mild flavor ‌and firm⁤ texture. They can be grilled, baked, or smoked. They are high in Omega-3 fatty acids and low in mercury, making them a healthy choice for fish lovers.

Additional Information

Ciscoes feed on plankton and small invertebrates. Their predators include larger fish, such as lake trout and northern pike, as well as birds of ‌prey.

References and Further Reading

For further information, refer to the Great ⁣Lakes‌ Fishery​ Commission’s Cisco Overview. Visit the Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources page on Ciscoes for detailed information on locating and fishing this species. Always remember to‌ check local regulations before going fishing.Great⁤ Lakes⁢ Fishery Commission. Michigan’s DNR Ciscoes page