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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.

Sunfishes (Centrarchids)

Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus)


Bluegill, an introduced sunfish, are often confused with their smaller, more colorful relatives, pumpkinseeds. The two are easily distinguished by the lack of a colorful red/orange tip on the dark opercular flap of bluegills. Also, bluegill generally attain larger sizes than their smaller cousins and are often 7-9 inches. The state record is 3 ? pounds. Bluegill can be found in the weedy shoreline areas of lakes where they feed primarily on insects, amphipods, and some plant material. Because of their aggressive nature, strong fighting ability, and excellent taste, bluegill are popular with many classes of anglers ranging from avid flyfishers to small children with bobbers and worms.

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