Illustration by Jose Curtice

Bull trout make their homes in the deep pools, cold lakes and rivers of the mountains of western North America. They get their descriptive name from their broad, flat heads and unusually large mouths. Eyes that are positioned close to the top of the head help the fish detect prey. A hungry predator, mature bull trout regularly feed on other fish. The coastal Washington bull trout has an appetite for salmon eggs and fry. Bull trout are endangered, require clean, cold water to survive, and are very sensitive to changes in water temperature and quality. Besides their very large heads, bull trout can be identified by their spotless fins and the mix of small whitish, pale yellow, pink or red spots along its body.

(adapted from the Native Fish column in Trout magazine, written by Gregg Patterson — trout image from