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Discussing fishing flies, trout flies, salmon flies, fly fishing gear and equipment, Idaho and Montana fishing rivers, NW rivers, fly tying and fly fishing trips. Over 50 years experience in fly fishing, best flies, fly tying, fly fishing techniques, fish stories, directions to rivers and lakes and great fly fishing tall tales with special communications from area guides.

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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Bull vs. Brook

It is very important to know the difference between a Bull trout and a Brook trout. Realize that both are actually chars and not trout. The Bull is endangered courtesy of the U.S. Endangered Species Act (1998) and fishing for or keeping a Bull trout could subject one to fines &/or imprisonment. While the limit on KEEPING Brook trout may be as many as 50 per day in some states. Both are of the salmon family and there are some physical differences which are important to know if one wants to avoid jail time. Much of this information is courtesy of Wikipedia. Remember this is a free online resource which survives mostly because of donations, so give generously.

Artist Sketch of Brook Trout
"Like other species of char, the fins of a Bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) have 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 (S. fontinalis) by the absence of distinct spots (or wavy black lines) on the dorsal fin, as well as yellow, orange, or salmon-colored spots on the back as opposed to red spots with blue halos on the brook trout. Bull trout lack the deeply forked tail fin of lake trout (S. namaycush, another char)."

Best example of a Bull I've ever seen!
Bull trout are native to the northwestern US and are actually legal to fish for and catch in our neighbor Canada. There is actually a "Bull River" in British Columbia which flows in to Lake Koocanusa which should not to be mistaken for Montana's Bull River. And really, the Bull in Montana has far more large Cutthroat trout than Bulls. I have actually never caught a Bull trout there. I understand though the Canadian Bull River (closest town Fernie, BC) is loaded with large migratory Bull trout in October. "Historically, S. confluentus (were at one time) known as the "Dolly Varden" (S. malma), but was reclassified as a separate species in 1980." They are probably NOT the same.

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Artist Sketch of Brook Trout
Now the Brook trout, also a char, is prevalent all over small streams in the US, ergo usually not a slot limit. The Brook trout does have distinct spots (or wavy black lines) on the dorsal fin. "The Brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) is a species of freshwater fish in the salmon family Salmonidae. It is native to Eastern North America in the United States and Canada, but has been introduced elsewhere in North America and to other continents. In parts of its range, it is also known as the eastern brook trout, speckled trout, brook charr, squaretail, or mud trout, among others. The Brook trout is the state fish of nine states: Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia, and the Provincial Fish of Nova Scotia in Canada."

Hope you have learned something new. By the way, small Brookies are tremendous fighters. They are much fun on a 3 wt. fly rod. Hard takes, tight lines and screaming reels to all.

IdahoAngler@live.com

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Could Be Anywhere Native Brook Trout
Tags: Cutthroat Byway
Huge Cutthroat
Rainbow
Ride the BULL
Vermillion Rainbow, Brook, Cutthroat
Westslope Cutthroat




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