Bull trout belong to the salmonid family of fishes with salmon and other trout. They are dark colored, from gray to brownish green, and have light colored spots. It is easy to confuse bull trout with other trout species. Bull trout are protected by both state and federal law, making it illegal to fish for bull trout. Click here to find out how you can avoid mistaking these fish for other trout.
Habitat: Bull trout need cold water in pristine streams or lakes to survive. They require the coldest temperatures of any salmonid and are the first to disappear when habitat and water quality are degraded. Some bull trout migrate from lakes to spawn in small tributary streams. Females bury their eggs in nests, called “redds,” about six inches deep in the streambed gravel. After spawning, most bull trout return to their original lake or stream.
Food: Bull trout are predators; they feed on other fish, aquatic insects, fish eggs, and crayfish.
Facts: Bull trout can exceed 20 pounds. The biggest bull trout ever recorded was caught out of Lake Pend Orielle in Northern Idaho; it weighed 32 pounds.