The spring season for fly fishing bull trout on the Cheakamus, Squamish and Mamquam rivers is winding down.
As these peak predators are finishing their annual feast of salmon fry and head down to the Pacific. If you can squeeze it in, you still have a couple of weeks to for great fly fishing for bull trout before the last of the salmon fry have made it through the gauntlet, and the bulls look to hide out in cooler waters as air temperatures heat up.
Bull trout are a species of char (Salvelinus confluentus) but kept their common name after being officially labelled using genetic data. The name comes from their big flat head and aggressive nature, but they’re often confused with Dolly Vardens. In comparison, the Dolly’s have a smaller head and blunter snout, with more, smaller spots on the back than the bull. The distinct morphological feature that sets the two apart is that the bull has 23 branchiostegal rays (gill rakers) and the Dolly has less than 23 (there you go! get counting).
Both species are found throughout rivers in BC, but the bull trout is more prevalent heading east into the interior and is the official fish of Alberta. Big coastal rivers like the Squamish River and Fraser River do have strong populations and are popular with anglers. One problem can be overfishing; locating them can be a challenge but once found they’re easily seduced by big flies.
If you miss the early season, you can always book a trip with our fly fishing guides to check them out this fall.