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What is a Whitefish?

Whitefish is a type of fish that belongs to a family called Coregonidae. This family of fish is generally saltwater or freshwater fish. Whitefish are typically found in areas located in temperate climates, such as in North America, Europe, and Asia.

Whitefish usually have a creamy-white color to their bodies, which is why they are known as “whitefish.” Some varieties of whitefish can also take on a pinkish or yellowish tone to their skin, depending on their environment. They have slender bodies, with large eyes and a single long dorsal fin, located towards the rear of the body.

Types of Whitefish

There are many different types of whitefish, each with its own unique characteristics. Some of the most commonly encountered varieties include Lake Whitefish, Milkfish, Arctic Char, Cod, Sculpin, and Smelt.

Lake Whitefish

Lake Whitefish are among the most common whitefish encountered in North America. These fish can be found in freshwater lakes and rivers. The Lake Whitefish typically has a reddish to yellowish color, although it may sometimes appear grey in color. They have a long, slender body with a short, round dorsal and abdominal fins.


Milkfish are found in tropical waters, such as the Indian and Pacific oceans. They tend to prefer coral and rocky reefs, and they are an important source of food for many different marine cultures. Milkfish have a brownish-gray color with a light underside and a long, slender body shape. They usually have large, prominent eyes, and they have a long, finned tail.

Arctic Char

Arctic Char are found in many Arctic waters and other cold water bodies. These fish have a silver-gray color with a purple to reddish tint along their backs. They have a large head, with prominent eyes and a short, bulky body. The Arctic Char has a long dorsal and anal fin, with a long forked tail.


Cod are another type of whitefish that are found in the North Atlantic and Pacific oceans. These fish tend to reside in cold waters near the bottom of the ocean. The cod has a silver-gray back and a white belly, with a brownish patch on the sides of the body. They have prominent eyes and a distinctive mouth with long barbels. The cod has a long, deep body with a single, long dorsal fin.


Sculpin is a type of whitefish that is found in freshwater, including many rivers and streams across North America. They have a greenish or brownish color, with large dark spots along their backs. They have a large head and a round body, with two large pectoral fins and a small, square-shaped tail.

Whitefish two


Smelt are a type of whitefish found in both freshwater and saltwater. They have a silvery white color, and a long, slender body. They have large eyes, and two prominent dorsal fins. Smelt are a small fish, with most individuals measuring less than 5 inches in length.

Habitat of Whitefish

Whitefish can be found in a variety of habitats, including open ocean, estuaries and other shallow coastal waters, freshwater lakes and rivers, and even in some areas of the Arctic. Depending on the species, whitefish may live in a single habitat or may move back and forth between multiple habitats throughout their lifetime.

Behavior of Whitefish

Whitefish typically lead a migratory lifestyle, migrating between various habitats throughout the year in order to feed, spawn, or simply find better living conditions. They tend to form large schools and use a variety of techniques to catch their prey, including herding, corralling, and stunning prey with a loud sound or light.

Diet of Whitefish

Whitefish will typically feed on small fish, insects, and other aquatic animals. Depending on the species, whitefish may feed on a wide variety or specific type of food. Some species may even eat plant material in addition to their animal prey.

Whitefish and Humans

Whitefish have been an important source of food for humans for thousands of years. They are popular in many different cuisines, including American, Canadian, British, and European.

Whitefish have also been used as an important source of income for fisherman, particularly in areas where commercial fishing fleets have been set up. In many parts of the world, whitefish are still an important source of income and sustenance for local communities.

Conservation Status of Whitefish

Whitefish populations are generally healthy in most locations, although some species are listed as endangered or threatened in certain locations due to overfishing and habitat destruction. Some countries, such as the United States, have implemented protections for whitefish and other aquatic species in order to ensure their populations remain healthy for future generations.


Whitefish are an important type of fish that are found in a variety of habitats, from open ocean to freshwater. They are an important source of food for humans and support many different local economies. It is important for humans to ensure whitefish populations remain healthy, so that they can be enjoyed for generations to come.

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