Salvelinus confluentus

Identification Tips:

• Typical salmon/trout body form
• Adults and older juveniles have Light coloured spots (white to pale pink or red) on dark background
• Juveniles have wide parr marks, that may be as wide as tall.

• Extremely difficult to distinguish from Dolly Varden, especially as juveniles:
• Bull trout have larger adult body and larger, wider-spaced spots on back
• Upper jaw is longer than base of anal fin (about equal in Dolly Varden)

Conservation Status:

British ColumbiaCanadaNatureserve
COSEWICSpecies at Risk Act
Blue ListSpecial ConcernNoneG4T3, S2S3

Information Source: BC Conservation Data Centre:

Life History:

• Spawn in fall; constructing redd (nest) in gravel
• Fry spend first summer among boulder and gravel along river margins
• Most rear in deep pools and sidechannels of streams for 2 to 4 years
• May live more than 25 years and grow to more than 85 cm

Later life history varies widely
• Some populations migrate extensively and within large river systems or between rivers and large lakes
• Some are resident in small streams
• Some from Pitt River and Squamish River migrate to sea like salmon
• Juveniles and small stream resident adults eat invertebrates drifting in current
• Larger adults eat fish


• Spawn in flowing water over gravel substrate often with groundwater upwelling
• Cold water, rarely above 15 C
• In lakes they occupy deep water by day and move into shallower areas to forage by night
• In large rivers usually close to bottom in slow current of pools under overhead cover


British Columbia
• Throughout interior except Okanagan and Kettle drainages
• Present in large rivers that cross the Coast Mountains, including the Fraser
• Absent from most smaller coastal drainages, Vancouver Island, and Haida Gwaii

• Southern Yukon and Northwest Territory south through Alberta and BC to Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Nevada
• Historically in northern California

Primary Information Source:
McPhail, J.D. 2007. The Freshwater Fishes of British Columbia. University of Alberta Press. Edmonton, Alberta.

Bull Trout