Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus)

Federal Register | Recovery | Critical Habitat | Conservation Plans | Petitions | Life History

Listing Status:    and  

General Information

Bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) are members of the family Salmonidae and are char native Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Montana and western Canada. Compared to other salmonids, bull trout have more specific habitat requirements that appear to influence their distribution and abundance. They need cold water to survive, so they are seldom found in waters where temperatures exceed 59 to 64 degrees (F). They also require stable stream channels, clean spawning and rearing gravel, complex and diverse cover, and unblocked migratory corridors. Bull trout may be distinguished from brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) by several characteristics: spots never appear on the dorsal (back) fin, and the spots that rest on the fish's olive green to bronze back are pale yellow, orange or salmon-colored. The bull trout's tail is not deeply forked as is the case with lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush). Bull trout exhibit two forms: resident and migratory. Resident bull trout spend their entire lives in the same stream/creek. Migratory bull trout move to larger bodies of water to overwinter and then migrate back to smaller waters to reproduce. An anadromous form of bull trout also exists in the Coastal-Puget Sound population, which spawns in rivers and streams but rears young in the ocean. Resident and juvenile bull trout prey on invertebrates and small fish. Adult migratory bull trout primarily eat fish. Resident bull trout range up to 10 inches long and migratory forms may range up to 35 inches and up to 32 pounds. Bull trout are currently listed coterminously as a threatened species.

Population detail

The FWS is currently monitoring the following populations of the Bull Trout 

  • Population location: U.S.A., conterminous, (lower 48 states)

    Listing status:  Threatened

    • States/US Territories in which this population is known to or is believed to occur:  Idaho , Montana , Nevada , Oregon , Washington
    • US Counties in which this population is known to or is believed to occur:  View All
    • USFWS Refuges in which this population is known to occur:  Benton Lake Wetland Management District, Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge, Julia Butler Hansen Refuge for the Columbian White-Tailed Deer, Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge, Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge  ... Show All Refuges
    • Countries in which the this population is known to occur:  United States
    • Additional species information
  • Population location: Clackamas River subbasin and the mainstem Willamette River, from Willamette Falls to its points of confluence with the Columbia River, including Multnomah Channel

    Listing status:  Experimental Population, Non-Essential

    • USFWS Refuges in which this population is known to occur:  Northwest Montana Wetland Management District-Flathead County
 
Current Listing Status Summary
Status Date Listed Lead Region Where Listed
1998-06-10 Pacific Region (Region 1) U.S.A., conterminous, (lower 48 states)
2009-12-09 Pacific Region (Region 1) Clackamas River subbasin and the mainstem Willamette River, from Willamette Falls to its points of confluence with the Columbia River, including Multnomah Channel

» Federal Register Documents

Federal Register Documents
Date Citation Page Title
2004-05-17 00:00:00.0 69 FR 27949 27950 Issuance of Permits
2003-02-11 00:00:00.0 68 FR 6863 Proposed Designation of Critical Habitat for the Klamath River and Columbia River Distinct Population Segments of Bull Trout; reopening of comment period
1993-05-17 00:00:00.0 58 FR 28849 28852 ETWP; 90-Day finding and Commencement of Status Review for a Petition to List the Bull Trout.
1999-06-25 00:00:00.0 64 FR 34216 34217 Notice of Application to Amend an Endangered Species Act Incidental Take Permit to Include Canada Lynx and Puget Sound/Coastal Bull Trout on the Plum Creek Timber Company Permit for Timber Harvest in the State of Washington, and to Issue an Incidental Take Permit for Middle Columbia River Steelhead, and Puget Sound Chinook to Plum Creek Timber Company in the State of Washington.
2001-10-16 00:00:00.0 66 FR 52638 52640 Receipt of Application To Amend West Fork Timber Company's Endangered Species Act Incidental Take Permit for Western Washington To Include Canada Lynx and Bull Trout
2009-06-26 00:00:00.0 74 FR 30617 30619 Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation; Draft Environmental Impact Statement Availability and Public Meetings
1997-09-19 00:00:00.0 62 FR 49398 49397 Review of Plant and Animal Taxa
2004-07-01 00:00:00.0 69 FR 39949 Extension of Comment Period for the Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) 5-Year Review
1989-01-06 00:00:00.0 54 FR 554 579 ETWP; Animal Notice of Review; 54 FR 554 579
2003-11-28 00:00:00.0 68 FR 66820 66821 Final Environmental Impact Statement for an Incidental Take Permit Application and Habitat Conservation Plan (Plan), by J.L. Storedahl and Sons, Inc. (Storedahl), Clark County, WA
1991-11-21 00:00:00.0 56 FR 58804 58836 ETWP; Animal Candidate Review for Listing as Endangered or Threatened Species; 56 FR 58804 58836
1994-11-15 00:00:00.0 59 FR 58982 59028 ETWP; Animal Candidate Review for Listing as Endangered or Threatened Species.
2004-04-13 00:00:00.0 69 FR 19449 19450 5-Year Review of the Bull Trout
2015-09-30 00:00:00.0 80 FR 58767 58768 Recovery Plan for the Coterminous United States Population of Bull Trout; Notice of Availability
2011-06-21 00:00:00.0 76 FR 35979 35995 Establishment of a Nonessential Experimental Population of Bull Trout in the Clackamas River Subbasin, OR
2001-01-05 00:00:00.0 66 FR 1089 1091 Availability of a Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Tacoma Water Department Habitat Conservation Plan, King County, WA
2002-11-29 00:00:00.0 67 FR 71236 71438 Proposed Designation of Critical Habitat for the Klamath River and Columbia River Distinct Population Segments of Bull Trout
2008-03-05 00:00:00.0 73 FR 11870 11871 Availability of a Draft Environmental Assessment/Habitat Conservation Plan, and Receipt of Applications for Incidental Take Permits from the Broughton Land Company, Columbia County, Washington
2012-03-06 00:00:00.0 77 FR 13248 13251 5-Year Status Reviews of 46 Species in Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Montana, Hawaii, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands:Notice of initiation of reviews; request for information.
2007-09-14 00:00:00.0 72 FR 52575 52576 Proposed Low Effect Habitat Conservation Plan for Washington Department of Natural Resources' Commercial Geoduck Fishery
2015-06-04 00:00:00.0 80 FR 31916 31918 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Revised Draft Recovery Plan for the Coterminous United States Population of Bull Trout and Draft Recovery Unit Implementation Plans
2006-06-19 00:00:00.0 71 FR 35286 35288 Notice of Intent to Conduct Public Scoping and to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement Related to the City of Kent, Washington (WA), Clark Springs Water Supply System Habitat Conservation Plan
2003-04-28 00:00:00.0 68 FR 22412 22414 Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement Regarding Proposed Issuance of an Incidental Take Permit to the Montana Department of Natural Resrouces and Conservation on Foreted State Trust Lands in the State of Montana
1999-10-25 00:00:00.0 64 FR 57535 57547 Review of Plant and Animal Taxa That Are Candidates or Proposed for Listing as Endangered or Threatened; Annual Notice of Findings on Recycled Petitions; Annual Description of Progress on Listing Actions
1998-06-10 00:00:00.0 63 FR 31693 31710 ETWP; Proposal To List the Coastal-Puget Sound, Jarbidge River and St. Mary-Belly River Population segments of Bull Trout as Threatened Species
2004-07-01 00:00:00.0 69 FR 39950 39951 Draft Recovery Plan for the Coastal-Puget Sound Distinct Population Segment of Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus), Volumes 1 and 2
2000-01-31 00:00:00.0 4603 Availability of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Receipt of an Application for Incidental Take Permits for the Tacoma Water Department, Green River Watershed, Habitat Conservation Plan, King County, Washington
2003-06-10 00:00:00.0 68 FR 34585 34586 Notice of Intent to Conduct Public Scoping and Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement Related to the King County , WA, Habitat Conservation Plan
2004-10-06 00:00:00.0 69 FR 59996 60076 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of Critical Habitat for the Klamath River and Columbia River Populations of Bull Trout; Final Rule
1999-04-08 00:00:00.0 64 FR 17110 17125 ETWP; Determination of Threatened Status for the Jarbidge River Population Segment of Bull Trout.
2010-10-18 00:00:00.0 75 FR 63898 64070 Revised Designation of Critical Habitat for Bull Trout in the Coterminous United States; Final Rule
1985-09-18 00:00:00.0 50 FR 37958 37967 Review of Vertebrate Wildlife; Notice of Review; 50 FR 37958-37967
2005-11-15 00:00:00.0 70 FR 69348 69350 Notice of Intent to Conduct Public Scoping Meetings and to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement Related to the Bi-State Water Diversion Habitat Conservation Plan for the Walla Walla River Basin
2014-09-04 00:00:00.0 79 FR 52741 52743 ETWP; Revised Draft Recovery Plan for the Coterminous United States Population of Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus)
1994-06-10 00:00:00.0 59 FR 30254 30255 ETWP; 12-Month Petition Finding on the Bull Trout
1999-12-17 00:00:00.0 64 FR 70695 70697 Availability of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Receipt of an Application for an Incidental Take Permit Submitted by Plum Creek Timberlands, L.P., (and its partners Plum Creek Timber Company, Inc. and Plum Creek Timber I L.L.C.), Plum Creek Marketing Inc., Plum Creek Land Company, Plum Creek Northwest Lumber, Inc., Plum Creek Northwest Plywood, Inc., and Plum Creek MDF, Inc., for Lands in Montana, Idaho, and Washington
2000-09-21 00:00:00.0 65 FR 57170 57171 Notice of Availability of Final Environmental Impact Statement and Habitat Conservation Plan for Incidental Take
2000-03-15 00:00:00.0 65 FR 13947 13948 Extension of Public Comment Period for Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Application for an Incidental Take Permit for the Tacoma Water Department, Green River Watershed, Habitat Conservation Plan, King County, Washington
1998-06-10 00:00:00.0 63 FR 31647 31674 ETWP; Determination of Threatened status for the Klamath River and Columbia River Distinct Population Segments of Bull Trout
2003-02-11 00:00:00.0 68 FR 6932 6934 Notice To Extend the Public Comment Period for the Draft Recovery Plan for Three of the Five Distinct Population Segments of Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus)
2004-12-15 00:00:00.0 69 FR 75045 75046 Notice of Intent to Conduct Public Scoping and Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement
1996-02-28 00:00:00.0 61 FR 7597 7613 ETWP; Review of Plant and Animal Taxa That Are Candidates for Listing as Endangered or Threatened Species
1997-06-13 00:00:00.0 62 FR 32268 32284 ETWP; Proposal to List the Klamath River Population Segment of Bull Trout as an Endangered Species and Columbia River Population Segment of Bull Trout as a Threatened Species
1995-06-12 00:00:00.0 60 FR 30825 30826 ETWP; 12-Month Recycled Petition Finding for a Petition To List the Bull Trout as Threatened or Endangered
2002-11-29 00:00:00.0 67 FR 71439 71441 Notice of Availability of the Draft Recovery Plan for Three of the Five Distinct Population Segments of Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) for Review and Comment
2010-01-14 00:00:00.0 75 FR 2270 2431 Revised Designation of Critical Habitat for Bull Trout in the Coterminous United States; announcement of public hearing, and announcement of availability of draft economic analysis.
1999-01-20 00:00:00.0 64 FR 3066 3067 Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement Regarding Proposed Issuance of an Incidental Take Permit to the City of Tacoma, Washington, for Water Storage and Withdrawal and Forest Management in the Green River Watershed, King County, Washington
1998-08-11 00:00:00.0 63 FR 42757 42762 ETWP; Emergency Listing of the Jarbidge River Population Segment of Bull Trout as Endangered.
2004-07-01 00:00:00.0 69 FR 39951 39952 Draft Recovery Plan for the Jarbidge River Distinct Population Segment of Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus)
2006-09-26 00:00:00.0 71 FR 56107 56107 Notice of Availability of a Final Record of Decision on the Issuance of Permits
2009-12-09 00:00:00.0 74 FR 65045 65056 Establishment of a Nonessential Experimental Population of Bull Trout in the Clackamas River Subbasin, Oregon
2002-11-22 00:00:00.0 67 FR 40708 40709 Notice of Availability of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for an Incidental Take Permit Application and Habitat Conservation Plan
1999-11-01 00:00:00.0 64 FR 58934 58936 ETWP; Notice of Intent to Prepare a Proposed Special Rule Pursuant to Section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act for the Bull Trout
2001-10-30 00:00:00.0 66 FR 54808 54832 ETWP; Review of Plant and Animal Species That Are Candidates or Proposed for Listing as Endangered or Threatened,Annual Notice of Findings on Recycled Petitions, and Annual Description of Progress on Listing Actions; Proposed Rule
1999-11-01 00:00:00.0 64 FR 58910 58933 ETWP; Determination of Threatened Status for Bull Trout in the Coterminous United States
Special Rule Publications
Date Citation Page Title
1998-06-10 00:00:00.0 63 FR 31647 31674 ETWP; Determination of Threatened status for the Klamath River and Columbia River Distinct Population Segments of Bull Trout
1999-04-08 00:00:00.0 64 FR 17110 17125 ETWP; Determination of Threatened Status for the Jarbidge River Population Segment of Bull Trout.

» Recovery

Current Recovery Plan(s)
Date Title Plan Action Status Plan Status
2015-09-28 Recovery Plan for the Coterminous United States Population of Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) View Implementation Progress Final
2015-09-30 Coastal Recovery Unit Implementation Plan for Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) View Implementation Progress Final
2015-09-30 Columbia Headwaters Recovery Unit Implementation Plan for Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) View Implementation Progress Final
2015-09-30 Klamath Recovery Unit Implementation Plan for Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) View Implementation Progress Final
2015-09-30 Mid-Columbia Recovery Unit Implementation Plan for Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) View Implementation Progress Final
2015-09-30 St. Mary Recovery Unit Implementation Plan for Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) View Implementation Progress Final
2015-09-30 Upper Snake Recovery Unit Implementation Plan for Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) View Implementation Progress Final
2015-09-30 Coastal Recovery Unit Implementation Plan for Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) View Implementation Progress Final
2015-09-30 Columbia Headwaters Recovery Unit Implementation Plan for Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) View Implementation Progress Final
2015-09-30 Klamath Recovery Unit Implementation Plan for Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) View Implementation Progress Final
2015-09-30 Mid-Columbia Recovery Unit Implementation Plan for Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) View Implementation Progress Final
2015-09-30 St. Mary Recovery Unit Implementation Plan for Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) View Implementation Progress Final
2015-09-30 Upper Snake Recovery Unit Implementation Plan for Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) View Implementation Progress Final
Other Recovery Documents
Date Citation Page Title Document Type
2015-09-30 80 FR 58767 58768 Recovery Plan for the Coterminous United States Population of Bull Trout; Notice of Availability
  • Notice Final Recovery Plan Availability
2002-11-29 67 FR 71439 71441 Notice of Availability of the Draft Recovery Plan for Three of the Five Distinct Population Segments of Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) for Review and Comment
  • Notice Draft Recovery Plan Availability
2014-09-04 79 FR 52741 52743 ETWP; Revised Draft Recovery Plan for the Coterminous United States Population of Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus)
  • Notice Draft Recovery Plan Availability
2015-06-04 80 FR 31916 31918 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Revised Draft Recovery Plan for the Coterminous United States Population of Bull Trout and Draft Recovery Unit Implementation Plans
  • Notice Draft Recovery Plan Availability
2004-07-01 69 FR 39951 39952 Draft Recovery Plan for the Jarbidge River Distinct Population Segment of Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus)
  • Notice Recovery Plan Avail.
2004-07-01 69 FR 39950 39951 Draft Recovery Plan for the Coastal-Puget Sound Distinct Population Segment of Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus), Volumes 1 and 2
  • Notice Recovery Plan Avail.
2012-03-06 77 FR 13248 13251 5-Year Status Reviews of 46 Species in Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Montana, Hawaii, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands:Notice of initiation of reviews; request for information.
  • Notice 5-year Review, Initiation
2004-04-13 69 FR 19449 19450 5-Year Review of the Bull Trout
  • Notice 5-year Review
Five Year Review
Date Title
2015-11-13 2015 Bull Trout 5-year Review
2008-04-25 Bull Trout Completed 5-yr Review

» Critical Habitat

Date Citation Page Title Document Type Status
2010-10-18 75 FR 63898 64070 Revised Designation of Critical Habitat for Bull Trout in the Coterminous United States; Final Rule Final Rule Final designated
2005-09-26 70 FR 56212 56311 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife Plants; Designation of Critical Habitat for the Bull Trout; Final Rule Final Rule Not Required
2004-10-06 69 FR 59996 60076 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of Critical Habitat for the Klamath River and Columbia River Populations of Bull Trout; Final Rule Final Rule Not Required
2002-11-29 67 FR 71236 71438 Proposed Designation of Critical Habitat for the Klamath River and Columbia River Distinct Population Segments of Bull Trout Proposed Rule Not Required

To learn more about critical habitat please see http://ecos.fws.gov/crithab

» Conservation Plans

Habitat Conservation Plans (HCP) (learn more)
HCP Plan Summaries
Broughton Land Company
Cedar River Watershed HCP
City of Kent Clark Springs Water Supply
City of Tacoma, Tacoma Water HCP
Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation Lands
Plum Creek Native Fish HCP
Plum Creek Timber I-90 HCP, Amendment (addition of Canada lynx and Puget Sound/Coastal DPS of bull trout)
Plum Creek Timber I-90 HCP, Amendment (Bull Trout Addition)
Simpson Timber NW Operations (Green Diamond Resource Company)
Stimson Lumber Company
Stimson Lumber Company
Storedahl's Daybreak Mine Expansion and Habitat Enhancement Project HCP
Washington Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) Low-effect HCP for Commercial Geoduck Fishery
WDNR Forest Lands HCP, Amendment (Bull Trout Addition)
WDNR Forest Practices HCP
West Fork Timber HCP, Amendment (Addition of Bull Trout and Lynx)
Candidate Conservation Agreements (CCA): (learn more)
CCA Plan Summaries
Conservation Agreement for bull trout in the South Fork of the Flathead River (Montana)

» Petitions

» Life History

No Life History information has been entered into this system for this species.

» Other Resources

NatureServe Explorer Species Reports -- NatureServe Explorer is a source for authoritative conservation information on more than 50,000 plants, animals and ecological communtities of the U.S and Canada. NatureServe Explorer provides in-depth information on rare and endangered species, but includes common plants and animals too. NatureServe Explorer is a product of NatureServe in collaboration with the Natural Heritage Network.

ITIS Reports -- ITIS (the Integrated Taxonomic Information System) is a source for authoritative taxonomic information on plants, animals, fungi, and microbes of North America and the world.

FWS Digital Media Library -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Digital Library is a searchable collection of selected images, historical artifacts, audio clips, publications, and video.