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Fishes of Idaho

How are your identification skills? Do you know which are native and which were introduced? To see photos and descriptions, and learn more about Idaho fish, check out our Fishes of Idaho online database.

There are around 20,000 species of fish in the world. About 58% of these are marine (saltwater) fish, 41% are freshwater fish, and 1% are both. We have around 100 species in Idaho, and the list keeps growing as more non-native fish are released into Idaho waters. There are only 39 species of fish native to Idaho. The rest were introduced--some by accident, but most on purpose.

Sturgeons (Acipenserids)

White sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus)

Native

White sturgeon are Idaho's largest fish and are the largest freshwater species in North America. The largest white sturgeon in Idaho was caught with a set line and weighed 675 pounds. Fish over 8 feet long are not uncommon. White sturgeon are extremely long-lived fish, not generally maturing for 10-20 years and potentially living over 80 years. White sturgeon inhabit large rivers throughout the northwest. Some populations are anadromous, and others spend their entire lives in freshwater. In Idaho, they are primarily found in the Snake and Kootenai rivers. The Snake River population still provides a popular sport fishery, although no harvest is permitted. The Kootenai River white sturgeon population is listed as endangered under the ESA.

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