Bull Trout

Bull Trout are olive green with brown above and on sides, shading to white on belly. Much like the Brook Trout, they have an upper body with yellow spots, sides with red or orange spots. However, they lack the worm like markings, the bluish halos around spots and the white borders on their fins are less distinct than in Brook Trout. The Bull Trout fins are fringed with yellow orange while pectoral, pelvic, and anal fins with white margins.
SCIENTIFIC NAME
Salvelinus confluentus
CLASSIFICATION
Fish
LIFE SPAN
5-7 Years
SIZE
10-22 ” | 1-5 lbs
STATE CONSERVATION STATUS
  • Priority Species
  • Threatened
FEDERAL CONSERVATION STATUS
Vulnerable
GAME STATUS
Game
  1. Washoe
  2. Humboldt
  3. Pershing
  4. Churchill
  5. Mineral
  6. Lyon
  7. Douglas
  8. Carson City
  9. Storey
  1. Elko
  2. Lander
  3. Eureka
  4. White Pine
  1. Esmeralda
  2. Nye
  3. Lincoln
  4. Clark

Habitat & Range

Bull Trout are native throughout the Pacific Northwest. In Nevada, the Bull Trout is native to the Jarbidge River system (East and West Forks) and their associated tributaries in northern Elko county and represents the southernmost population of the species rangewide. The Bull Trout’s range extends north into Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and Alberta. It is also found in the southern areas of the Northwest Territories and Yukon. Of all the native salmonids of the United States, bull trout generally have the most specific habitat requirements, which are often referred to as “the four Cs”: Cold, Clean, Complex, and Connected habitat.

Threats

  • Climate Variables
  • Habitat Disturbance
  • Larger Fish
  • Predation
  • Small range

Natural History

You’ll find the Bull Trout in pristine streams and lakes in western North America where they feed on terrestrial and aquatic insects, as well as smaller fish. One of the more sensitive species, the Bull Trout has some of the most specific habitat requirements of any in the salmonid family. Water temperatures between 48-58 degrees Fahrenheit is preferred and anything warmer will limit the Bull Trout’s distribution. Additionally, they require clean stream substrates for spawning, complex habitats with deep pools undercut banks, and lots of large instream logs or wood for shelter.

Fun Facts

Many anglers confuse the Bull Trout with the Dolly Varden, but genetic testing as proven they are two different species.