20 Facts About Bull Trout

1. Bull Trout are threatened because of habitat loss or damage, poaching and unintentional angling mortality (often due to misidentification).

2. Bull Trout are technically members of the Genus Char and the Family Salmonidae, a family that contains trout, char, salmon, grayling and whitefish.

3. By learning simple identification tips, we can reduce the number of Bull Trout that are inadvertently killed each year.

4. Bull Trout and Dolly Varden were once considered the same species but scientific work in the late seventies proved they are in fact distinct species.

5. Today, Bull Trout live in Western Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Southern British Columbia and Southwestern Alberta.

6. Historically, Bull Trout were once present (and still can be found) as far as Northern Nevada to Eastern Alaska. They are no longer found in California.

7. Bull Trout are found in the Flathead, Clark Fork, Kootenai and other river drainages.

8. Mature Bull Trout are piscivorous, which means fish eating. As a result, anglers often see a Bull Trout attracted to a struggling fish they’re bringing in.

9. Remarkably, the World Record Largest Bull Trout weighed more than 32 pounds and was caught in Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho in 1949.

10. Bull Trout eat mostly insects as juveniles but then switch to eating smaller fish as adults.

11. Adult Bull Trout markings differ significantly from juvenile Bull Trout markings.

• Small or juvenile Bull Trout can be confused with Brook Trout except Brooke Trout have black marks on their dorsal fins and light, squiggly marks called vermiculations on their back.
• Adult Bull Trout (especially in lakes) can be confused with Lake Trout except Lake Trout have deeply forked tails.
• Adult Bull Trout are olive or drab in overall color with pale orange, round spots along their sides.
• Adult Bull Trout have clear or amber dorsal fins.

12. Bull Trout spots are not wavy like some other trout.

14. Bull Trout have NO black marks on their dorsal fins.

15. Bull Trout that live in lakes, rivers and ocean-going fish can vary significantly in appearance.

17. The tail shape of the adult Bull Trout is never deeply forked; it is only slightly forked.

18. Bull Trout are often mistaken for like species including: Lake trout, Brook Trout, Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout and Kokanee.

19. Bull Trout habitat requirements are known as the 4 Cs:

Cold, Clean or Clear, Connected and Complex.

• Bull Trout require the coldest water of any local trout to survive - anything above 60 degrees F can limit their distribution.
• Bull Trout spawn in the early fall, but the fry don’t emerge from the gravel until the following spring; therefore, Bull Trout require sparkling clean, clear streams to thrive.
Connected spawning and maturing habitats are key to Bull Trout survival – they return to the same place to spawn every year.
• Bull Trout require numerous, complex habitat types.

20. The migratory form of Bull Trout perform some of the longest migrations of any trout – more than 100 miles!