Bull Trout


Jason Dunham, Carl Schreck

Latin name: Salvelinus confluentus 

Bull trout were listed as threatened in the coterminous United States in 1999 and reintroduction programs historically show varying levels of success. Managers have considered translocation, captive rearing, and artificial propagation for reintroducing bull trout. The draft bull trout recovery plan suggests captive rearing is a potential reintroduction strategy for bull trout conservation, however, this type of strategy has been linked to a suite of negative genetic, physiologic, morphologic and behavioral effects on salmon, trout, and charr. We know very little about how bull trout respond and perform in captivity or after their release into the wild. Our goal is to develop a decision analysis using theoretical and empirical data to compare the value to conservation of various bull trout reintroduction strategies with a focus on captive rearing uncertainty. Bull trout ESA recovery planning includes a measure directed at captive rearing of fish for the subsequent reestablishment of extirpated populations. Our research in collaboration with the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service developed effective methods for doing this. It also lead to the development of a planning tool that gives decision makers direction regarding whether or not captive rearing is appropriate for ESA-listed populations

More information


Brignon, W.R., M.M. Pike, L.O. Ebbesson, H.A.Schaller, J.T. Peterson, and C.B. Schreck. 2017. Rearing Environment Influences Brain and Lens Development, Boldness, and Prey Acquisition Behavior of Bull Trout. Environmental Biology of Fishes. 101:1-19

Brignon, W.B., J.T. Peterson, J. B. Dunham, H.A. Schaller, and C. B. Schreck. 2018. Evaluating Tradeoffs in Bull Trout Reintroduction Strategies Using Structured Decision Making. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. 75: 293-307.