All About Sculpins
Sculpins are a strange and somewhat mysterious family of fish. The family cottidae has around 300 total sculpin species some found in freshwater but the majority are located in saltwater environments. We have 5 species of sculpins in Montana, the cedar sculpin, slimy sculpin, rocky mountain sculpin, spoonhead sculpin, and slimy sculpin. They are very similar in appearance and can be difficult even for experts to identify. What we do know about sculpins is that they live in nearly all trout habitats and are frequently preyed on by trout. They primarily eat scuds and aquatic insects but are known to eat worms and each other. These fish are highly camoflaged, can grow to around 7 inches, and tend to stay on the bottom of the river, stream, or lake. They can easily be imitated with patterns like a baby gonga or a sculpzilla, both are often crushed by trout. To learn even more about sculpins check out Orvis’ Fish Facts and MT FWP’s Fish ID.