7: Distribution and Status of Trout and Char in North America
Phaedra Budy, Kevin B. Rogers, Yoichiro Kanno, Brooke E. Penaluna, Nathaniel P. Hitt, Gary P. Thiede, Jason Dunham, Chad Mellison, William L. Somer, and James DeRito
Trout and char span the continent of North America, hugging its coasts and occupying many catchments throughout the interior of the continent. They have endured and persisted as North America has changed through time, including advances and retreats of glaciers, volcanic eruptions, enormous floods, and the formation of mountain ranges and plateaus. Most trout and char are found in mountainous catchments, requiring specific combinations of flow, temperature, velocity, depth, and cover to thrive. Recent research has led to the revision of the origin and diversification of trout and char. Although common fish names still refer to some of these fishes and others as trout, char, or salmon, recent realignments show that in North America, trout are Pacific trout Oncorhynchus spp. (Penaluna et al. 2016) and char encompass all fishes in the genus of Salvelinus (Crête-Lafrenière et al. 2012). Fishes in the genus of Salmo are also referred to as salmon or trout, and trout species of Salmo spp. are native to catchments that drain into the North Atlantic, mainly in Europe and the Atlantic Isles (see Chapters 11, 12, and 13). The taxonomy of North American trout is complicated, changes frequently, and is often under debate. This manuscript represents the best current understanding of distribution and status but is likely to continue to evolve as the science improves.