The Bull trout

The Bull trout


June to February

Minimum size

50 cm

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The Bull trout belongs to the Salmonidae family. It can measure up to 103 cm long and weigh up to 14.5 kg. It can live for a dozen years. It breeds from July to December. It can be fished from June to February.
Like other arctic char species, the fins of a bull trout have white leading edges. Its head and mouth are exceptionally large for salmonidae, which gave it its name. Bull trout up to 103 cm long and weighing 14.5 kg have been recorded. Bull trout can be migratory, moving through major river systems, lakes and the ocean, or they can be resident and remain in the same river all their lives. Migratory bull trout is generally much larger than resident bull trout, which rarely exceeds 2 kg. Bull trout differs from brook trout (S. fontinalis) in the absence of distinct spots on the dorsal fin, as well as yellow, orange or salmon spots on the back, as opposed to red spots with blue halos on the trout stream. Bull trout do not have the deep-dug caudal fin of lake trout (S. namaycush, another Arctic char).

The Bull trout lifestyle

Young bull trout eat zooplankton and zoobenthos, especially chironomids. As they grow older, they start to eat other fish heavily.
Bull trout reach sexual maturity between 4 and 7 years old. They in streams that are abundantly cold, with unpolluted water, cobble substrates and clean gravel and gentle slopes. Many spawning areas are linked with cold water sources or areas in which the flow of a stream is influenced by groundwater. Bull trout eggs need a long incubation period compared to other salmon and trout, hatching in late winter or early spring. Fry can stay in the streambed for up to three weeks before emerging. Juvenile fish remain attached to the bottom of the stream and are often found on or near the stream.

The bull trout habitat

Bull trout are found in the clear, cold waters of the high mountains and coastal rivers of northwestern North America, including the Yukon, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and western Montana, as well as in the Jarbidge River in northern Nevada. A bull trout population exists east of the continental divide in Alberta, where it is the province's fish. The historical range of bull trout also included northern California, but they have probably disappeared.
Bull trout need a particular habitat, demanding water temperatures generally below 13°C, deep pools, clean gravel beds, complex cover such as snags and cut banks, and large interconnected stream systems to allow spawning migrations. They prefer the depths of cold lakes and large rivers, as well as the cold high waters of the mountains. Bull trout can be anadromous in coastal rivers, and individuals of Bull trout have been found to migrate from one coastal river to another along the ocean shore.

The Bull trout angling

The best lures to catch bull trout are those that look like baitfish. Throwing with jigs, crankbaits, spoons and spinners imitating minnows are all productive methods of fishing for these trout.
For fly fishing, minnows and any type of larger banner are flies that represent minnows. During the spawning season, in salmon streams and rivers, the distribution of isolated eggs also works well.

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