CISCO (Lake Herring)

How to identify a Cisco (Lake Herring)

The mouth does not have barbels. The body is covered with silvery scales, with a brown, bronze or pale green on the back.  No spots on the fins and an elongated body; oval to round in cross section.

Cisco exhibit a distinct forked tail. Single dorsal no spines and 8-11 principal rays. Pelvic fins abdominal with axillary process. Adipose fin present. Anal fin has between 10-13 principal rays.

Where to catch Cisco (Lake Herring)

Cisco are found across North America up to Hudson Bay in deep coldwater lakes.  They have been known to inhabit lakes in Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, Wisconsin and in Ontario (Lake Simcoe, Lake Nippissing, Lake Huron, Georgian Bay, etc.) Often occur along side Lake Whitefish and Lake Trout.


How to Identify a Cisco (Lake Herring)
 1Body is covered with silvery-white scales, greyish-brown hue on it back
 2Noted adipose fin
 3 Distinct and deeply forked tail


  • Open water
  • Drop-Offs
  • Thermocline
  • Oxygenated Rivers
  • Freshwater Lakes
  • Islands or Deep Sand Bars

Acknowledgements:  We thank (, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Indiana Department of Natural Resources for their contributions to these FISH FACTS.