The lake herring is a schooling planktivore. Key identifying characteristics include: the mouth is not overhung by the snout; the mouth ends before middle of eye. The cisco generally grows to be 15-25 cm in length. It is slender-bodied and silvery with pinkish iridescence on its sides.
The lake herring is common in colder lakes throughout Canada and the northern United States. In Canada, it inhabits cold waters from the Great Lakes to Hudson Bay.
Northern lake herring are fished commercially and for sport.
Conservation status in Ontario
Internationally considered lower risk/least concern.
The lake herring serves as the primary prey fish for many of the larger predatory fish like lake trout and pike. The lake herring itself feeds on zooplankton, which consist of tiny crustaceans. In doing so, this species serves as a crucial food chain link between the zooplankton and the sport fish that end up on the dinner table.