Habitat Type: Freshwater
Comments: Clear, cold to warm (typically cool) headwaters, creeks, springs, small rivers, and lakes, with sand and gravel or (more typically) rocky substrate; habitat preference varies geographically; often under rocks or vegetative cover (Scott and Crossman 1973, Peden and Hughes 1984, Lee et al. 1980, Page and Burr 1991). Male selects a spawning site under flat rock or ledge, in crevice among large gravel, among aquatic plants, or in tunnel (Becker 1983).
In Salt River watershed, Wyoming-Idaho, allopatric mottled sculpins (i.e., not sympatric with Paiute sculpins) occurred in spring streams that were wide and deep, dominated by fine substrate, and supported high densities of brown trout; mottled sculpins were absent from all tributaries on the eastern side of the drainage where streams had low summer water temperatures, high-gradient channels, and barriers that can influence upstream movements (Quist et al. 2004).