• Western Native Trout
  • Western Native Trout
  • Western Native Trout

Bull Trout

Bull Trout

Bull Trout

The Bull Trout was once found throughout the Columbia River Basin, east to western Montana, south to northern Nevada, west to California and possibly as far north as southeastern Alaska. The main populations remaining in the lower 48 states are in Montana, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, with a small population in northern Nevada. The Bull Trout has small, pale yellow-to-crimson spots on a darker background, fading to white on the belly

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced Sept. 4, 2014, the availability of a Revised Draft Recovery Plan for the Coterminous U.S. Population of Bull Trout. Bull trout are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in the lower 48 United States. It occurs in Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and Nevada.  The Revised Draft Recovery Plan updated the recovery criteria proposed in the 2002 and 2004 draft recovery plans to focus on effective management of threats to Bull Trout and de-emphasized achieving targeted population numbers of adult bull trout in specific areas.  The Service recently published a Final Recovery Plan for the Coterminous U.S. Population of Bull Trout on Sept. 30, 2015.

Bull Trout Assessment (.pdf)



READ the Bull Trout Recovery Plan.  

CLICK HERE to read about Bull Trout conservation by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.  

READ about Bull Trout conservation by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

READ about Bull Trout management and conservation by Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks.

TAKE A FUN QUIZ to test your knowledge about Bull Trout identification.

Click here to read a High Country News January 2016 article about Bull Trout and the NorWEST stream temperature Climate Shield network and cold water refugia.


WATCH  a video about Bull Trout recovery in Montana.

WATCH THIS GREAT VIDEO of a bull trout in Klickitat Creek, a tributary of the White River in Washington.  Video courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Washington Fish and Wildlife Office.


Recent news about Bull Trout

News Release Idaho Fish and Wildlife Office

September 28, 2015

BOISE, Idaho – Efforts to conserve a key cold-water fish species got a boost today when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) released the final Bull Trout Recovery Plan, which outlines the conservation actions needed to recover bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus).

Bull trout occupy cold-water stream and lake habitats in western North America. Once abundant in Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada, Idaho and Montana, bull trout are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in the lower 48 states. The final recovery plan was developed after more than a year of collaboration with interested and knowledgeable federal, tribal, state, private, and other parties. At the core of the plan’s strategy are six geographically specific implementation plans, which identify specific conservation actions needed to address threats such as loss of habitat connectivity and passage barriers, non-native fish competition and predation, and the effects of poor land-management practices.

“The final recovery plan is a conservation compass to guide the recovery of bull trout, especially in places where the threatened fish has the best chance to persist for years to come. The focus is now on the threats to bull trout at the local scale and how we can abate them to stabilize or increase populations,” said Mike Carrier, state supervisor for the Service’s Idaho Fish and Wildlife Office. The Idaho office led the Service’s five-state planning effort. The overarching goal of the recovery plan is to conserve bull trout so that the fish are geographically widespread with stable populations in each of the six recovery units. Accordingly, the plan’s recovery criteria focus on effective management of known threats to bull trout. The Coastal, Columbia Headwaters, Klamath, Mid-Columbia, Saint Mary and Upper Snake are the six designated recovery units that are home to the threatened population in the lower 48 states.Bull trout were listed under the Endangered Species Act in 1999. Recovery plan drafts were completed but never finalized in 2002 and 2004. However, those draft recovery plans helped guide past recovery efforts and laid the foundation for the final plan adopted today.

Bull Trout Photo Gallery

The Bull Trout photos below were taken by photographer D. Kenney.  Notice the pair of trout in the second picture!

Bull Trout. D. Kenney photographer   Pair of Bull Trout. D. Kenney photographer  Bull Trout. Photo courtesy of D. Kenney

The photo below of a Bull Trout was taken by Jim Mogen, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Mountain-Prairie Region.

Bull Trout. Photo courtesy of Jim Mogen USFWS