Bull Trout belong in the Salmonidae family, their relatives include salmon and whitefish. More specifically, it is one of many char species found in the Northern Hemisphere. Young Bull Trout feed on zooplankton and zoobenthos, especially chironomids. As they grow larger, they begin to feed heavily upon other fish. In coastal Washington state, some of the southernmost populations of bull trout feed heavily on salmon eggs and fry, as well as fish.
Like other species of char, the fins of a Bull Trout has white leading edges. Its head and mouth are unusually large for salmonids, giving it its name. Bull Trout have been recorded measuring up to 103 cm (41 in) in length and weighing 14.5 kg (32 lb). Bull Trout may be either migratory, moving throughout large river systems, lakes, and the ocean, or they may be resident, remaining in the same stream their entire lives. Migratory Bull Trout are typically much larger than resident Bull Trout, which rarely exceed 2 kg (4.4 lb). Bull Trout can be differentiated from brook trout by the absence of distinct spots on the dorsal fin, as well as yellow, orange, or salmon-colored spots on the back as opposed to red spots with blue haloes on the brook trout. Bull Trout lack the deeply forked tail fin of lake trout.
When fishing for Bull Trout in river locations, you can either use bait or lures. Smaller spoons and spinners that immitate juvenile salmon and other baitfish work great between in the spring and early summer time, while a hook baited with roe is effective in the late summer and autumn.
When fishing for bull trout in streams, float fishing with egg patterns can work great during the salmon season. Spoons and spinners are always a good way to catch them because the vibration is difficult to resist for a Bull Trout. Once salmon spawning takes place, flyfishing with either egg or flesh patterns usually work well. Once juvenile salmon begin to emerge, minnow patterns should be used due to a change in Bull Trout's diet.
The Bull Trout is found in the cold, clear waters of the high mountains and coastal rivers of northwestern North America, including Yukon, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and western Montana, as well as the Jarbidge River of northern Nevada. A population of Bull Trout exists east of the Continental Divide in Alberta, where it is the provincial fish. The historical range of Bull Trout also included northern California, but they are likely extirpated.