For freshwater big-game fishers, bull trout should be on the top of your list. Bull trout are a trophy fish. They do not provide out of water high-jumping antics like kokanee and rainbow trout, but what they lack in aerial acrobatics they make up for in brute strength pulls that give an intense workout and tired, sore arms. It is said you fight a rainbow and wrestle a bully, and you will wrestle it all the way in until it is landed.
The Columbia River Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) is a mysterious species. In fact it is not a trout at all, but a char. Like most char including lake trout, brook trout, and Arctic char, it has the potential to grow to grandiose proportions.
Bull trout require clean pristine water and their size is closely related to the size of their habitat and availability of food. As with most large fish, bull trout get that way by eating other fish. In the case of the Arrow Lakes, the food of choice is kokanee and these piscivorous predators can grow to 80 cm (30 inches).
Historically, bull trout were called Dolly Varden. It wasn’t until 1978 that bull trout were determined to be a distinct species, yet, even today anglers still refer to them as ‘Dollies’.