Which Great Lake Has the Largest Commercial Fishing Harvest?

The Great Lakes are a vital source of sustenance for many people. Apart from providing drinking water and recreational activities, the lakes also provide a source of food through their commercial fisheries. The commercial fishing harvest from all five of the Great Lakes combined is valued at over $500 million per year.

One of the most important factors in determining which lake has the largest commercial fishing harvest is the type of fish that reside in each lake. The species of fish that inhabit each lake will greatly affect the amount that can be harvested from it. For example, Lake Ontario has a large population of walleye and yellow perch, while Lake Erie is known for its whitefish and yellow perch harvest.

Another factor to consider when determining which Great Lake has the largest commercial fishing harvest is its size. The larger a lake is, the more area there is available to fish in and thus more potential for higher yields. Lake Michigan is by far the largest of all five lakes, with an area totaling 58,016 square miles compared to Lake Erie’s 9,910 square miles.

The third factor to consider is climate. Different types of fish thrive in different climates and some species require certain elements or conditions to spawn or reproduce successfully. Each lake also has its own unique water temperatures and levels which could influence what types of fish inhabit them throughout different seasons.


When taking into account size, climate and types of fish, it can be concluded that Lake Michigan has the largest commercial fishing harvest due to its vast size and plentiful species population. This makes it an ideal spot for fishermen looking to make a living off their catches.

Photo of author

Michael Allen