*Sharper Hooks*
*Tighter Lines*
Mountain Whitefish




Information & facts

Mountain whitefish (Prosopium williamsoni)whitefish

Mountain Whitefish
Prosopium williamsoni or Rocky Mountain Whitefish, 
Williamson's Whitefish, Grayling


DESCRIPTION - The Mountain Whitefish maintains an average length of 8-12 inches and the world record weight is 4 pounds 7 ounces. The overall coloration is silvery with light or dark brown or olive on the back.

DISTRIBUTION - This species of whitefish occurs only in the lakes and streams of western North America. The Mountain Whitefish is widespread in British Columbia from the Fraser and Columbia River systems, throughout the Pacific coastal drainages of the Bella Coola, Skeena, Nass and Stikine systems.

BIOLOGY - Mountain Whitefish spawning occurs in late fall or early winter. No nest is prepared and each female lays 1500-7000 eggs. The maximum age of this bottom feeder is 17-18 years.

RELATION TO MAN - The Mountain Whitefish has been fished by fly or with a small baited hook for food for many years.

How to fish for Mountain Whitefish

Mountain whitefish can be caught easily by spin casting, float fishing and flyfishing. Small spinners and spoons under 1/8oz imitate juvenile salmon or trout. When fished with ultralight spincast setup, they can be very effective in streams where these whitefish are feeding heavily on juvenile fish.

Floatfishing with a small piece of worm or egg sac is a productive method. The setup is fairly easy. Simply tie a small hook (size 6 to 10) a few feet below a small float. Clamp on a few split shots a foot or so above the hook. Drift the setup in moderate to slow flows will usually produce a fish or two.

Flyfishermen who target coastal cutthroat trout will often encounter the odd mountain whitefish because both species predate on the same food. Small leeches, egg and minnow patterns in streams will usually work very well.

To catch Rockies, as they often called, the thing to remember is that they are extreme bottom feeders. Nine times out of 10 a Rocky will choose to feed right on the bottom. Their mouths are designed for picking things off the bottom. Looking at a Rocky you’ll notice that they have small mouths, and a bulbous nose. These body characteristics should give you clues about what they feed on, typically small nymphs, using that nose to poke around the rocks and root them out.

Get a nymph on bottom and if a Rocky is in the area, you’ll know about it quickly

The best way to catch Rockies is with a small nymph fly right on the bottom and let it tick downstream into the paths of holding fish. Do this by attaching a small split shot a couple feet up the line from the fly. Then cast the rig out sideways to the current and let it tick along bottom, all the while keeping a finger on the line by the reel to enhance bite detection. This is far and away the simplest and easiest method to go from looking at fish to catching them. Use a flexible rod, typically a light action 6 and a half to 7 foot spinning rod with either 4 or 6 pound test. This will give you the perfect outfit for detecting the bite, and then fighting the fish. If you do the fly fish thing, a 5 weight or lighter outfit will be a good match.

A light action rod like this one is the perfect tool to detect bites, fight, and land the soft mouth whitefish

Whitefish have soft mouths, so take your time when the fight is on. Use a light hand and a flexible rod. You’ll find yourself landing lots once you have them located. That’s about all you need to know to set up a great fall fishing experience. Happy catching.

Whitefish Fishing Resources

Below you’ll find some additional resources to help you catch bigger, better whitefish. I hope the information provided on this page will help improve your whitefish fishing success and your success as an angler overall. Feel free to share this website with your fellow anglers to show your support for my website. I know, who wants to share the fishing secrets but the best way to thank me is to promote my website.