Water – Elixir of Life

Bull Trout – Clean Water Sentinel


Some wild creatures are important indicators about the condition of our
environment. The bull trout is one of those. They need the coldest, cleanest
water of all salmonids so they are excellent indicators of water quality.

The Five C’s characterize good bull trout habitat:

• Clean water with very little fine sediment in the stream bottom. Fine
sediment fills up the spaces in the spawning gravel, restricts oxygen flow
and smothers bull trout eggs.

• Cold water temperatures are very important for bull trout. If water
temperatures rise above 59° F then it creates a thermal barrier that
restricts migration and use of available habitats.

• Complex streams with intact riparian vegetation to provide shade,
woody debris, bank stability and deep pools.

• Connected watersheds allow fish to migrate. Bull trout spawn and
rear in stream habitats. At about two years of age they migrate to lakes
or rivers, traveling up to 150 miles. They return to their natal stream to
spawn but unlike salmon make the journey between stream and lake
many times in their life.

• Comprehensive protection and restoration of bull trout habitat must
be done throughout the range of this native fish.

Cold, clean water – elixir of life –
for future generations of people and fish

P.O. Box 103, Bigfork, MT 59911
E-mail: wildswan@wildswan.org