This section is from the book "American Game Fishes", by W. A. Perry. Also available from Amazon: American Game Fishes: Their Habits, Habitat, and Peculiarities; How, When, and Where to Angle for Them.
The Lake Trout, or Salvelinus namaycush as he is more accurately described in the language of the scientist, is, according to Professor Goode, of the Smithsonian Institute, "a non-migratory species, inhabiting the chain of Great Lakes, from Superior to Ontario, as well as Lake Champlain, and many other smaller lakes of the United States and British America. * * * The usual type to be found in the Great Lakes is brown or gray, dappled with lighter shades of the same general tints. * * * Every lake of Northern New York and New England has its own variety, which the local angler stoutly maintains to be a different species from that found in the next township. Some are as black as a tautog, some brown with crimson spots, some gray, with delicate reticulations like those of a Pickerel. The usual type is brown or gray, dappled with lighter shades of the same general tints. Naturalists have been sadly mistaken by their protean modifications. The 'Namaycush,' of the North, the 'togue' or 'tuladi' of Maine and New Brunswick, * * * the Trout of Winnipiseogee and that of the Adirondack lakes, have each been honored with a distinct binominal. The angling authorities still refuse to admit that the Lake Trout of the east is identical with the Mackinaw Trout or N~amaycush, supporting their views by accounts of their different habits. A careful study of the dead fish is sufficient, however, to convince a trained observer that there are no structural characters by which these different forms may be separated into species.
"The Namaycush reaches its greatest perfection in the northern parts of Lakes Huron and Michigan, and in Lake Superior, where it is quite generally known as the Mackinaw Trout. In New York lakes the same species occurs, being known by the names of Lake Salmon, Lake Trout, and Salmon Trout." This by no means, however, exhausts the list of names with which he is enriched, for in Canada and Maine he is known as "tuladi," "longe" or "lunge," in Vermont as "togue," and he will respond, if you call him Red Trout, Gray Trout, Forked-tail Trout, Great-lake Trout, or Lesser-lake Trout.
The scientific description of this fish is given as follows, by Professor David Starr Jordan, of the Indiana State University:
" Salvelinus namaycusJi"-(Walbaum)-Goode-Mackinaw Trout, or Great-lake Trout, also locally known as "longe," "togue," "Salmon Trout," etc. (the latter name to be discouraged, as it is applied in England and elsewhere to very different species, as Salmo fario, etc.)
"(A). Characters shared with other Chars, but not with the species Salmo:
"Vomer boat-shaped, the shaft much depressed; no teeth inserted on the shaft; scales very small, and somewhat imbedded, about 200, in a longitudinal series; fins moderate, the anal rather short, 9 to 1 1 developed rays; the caudal forked in the young, becoming nearly truncate with age. Branchiostegals, 11 or 12; gill rakers, 16 to 20; pyloric caeca rather few and large. Sexual peculiarities not strongly marked; the breeding males with the premaxillaries lengthened, and with a fleshy projection at the tip of the lower jaw. Coloration dark, without black spots; sides with round spots of reddish or grayish; the head, back, dorsal and caudal fins usually marked with wavy lines.
"(B). Characters distinguishing .V. Namaycush from other Chars:
"Vomer with a raised crest, armed with strong teeth extending backward from the chevron, but free from the shaft; a band of strong teeth on hyoid bone (base of tongue). Head very long, somewhat flattened above, its length averaging nearly one-fourth the total (exclusive of caudal); body rather sleAder (varying much with food, etc.), its greatest depth averaging little more than length of head. Space between eyes about one-fourth length of head. Mouth very lar°-e, the length of its cleft averaging about half of head, the maxillary extending much beyond eye. Teeth very strong. Adipose fin small. Caudal fin always more or less concave or forked.
"General color dark gray-more or less olive-tinged in life, the color varying with circumstances from very pale to almost black. Upper parts, especially top of head, with ver-miculations of darker olive or gray. Dorsal and anal fins reticulate. Sides with round pale spots, usually light gray or somewhat yellowish, said to be sometimes tinged with reddish. Lower fins less ornate than in the brook Trout; usually nearly plain."
The Lake Trout is essentially a deep-water fish, and as soon as the temperature of the water changes in the spring, he leaves the surface where he has been for a short time, and seeks the more congenial "deep sea." It is doubtless largely owing to this fact that so little is known of him as a game fish, since, in order to catch him in the deep waters where he is usually found, such a clumsy form of tackle has ordinarily to be used as almost deprives the process of any pleasure or sport. Yet, while it is eminently true that he lacks the verve and dash of the Trout or the Bass, he has a manifest and dogged determination all his own, that marks him as being very different from the sluggish Pickerel.
In our western cities, especially those bordering on the Great Lakes, his form is very well known, being seen in every fish-stall, and being highly esteemed for its toothsome qualities; but the method of his advent there is one that concerns us not, connected as it is with the vulgar and mercantile gill and pound nets. Our acquaintance with him is to be rather that which rises from first having ceremoniously "dropped him a line," and receiving his reply in forma propria, before we proceed to seek his more intimate acquaintance. But let me tell you, brother angler, an' you know it not already, that if you will have true sport with him, and win his profound gratitude for being so handsomely "taken in," you will always see to it that your tackle shall be as light and delicate as the spider's gossamer, and that the barbarous "trolling-line"-the hand-line of commerce-shall have no place in your well chosen stores. Listen to what "Timon Tyde," who, as is well known, "wait(s) for no man," says of the practice: