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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.


Lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis)


Lake whitefish are widely distributed across North America, but are not native to Idaho. They are native to the Great Lakes region of the U.S., and across most of Canada and Alaska. Adults are typically between 15 and 20 inches in length, but some fish from the Great Lakes system have attained weights in excess of 20 pounds. Lake whitefish spawn in the fall and typically feed on aquatic insects larvae, freshwater clams and snails, amphipods, and mysids. Lake whitefish have historically been an important food fish for people and currently provide sport fishing opportunities for anglers in several Idaho lakes and reservoirs.

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