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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)

Green sunfish (Lepomis cyanellus)


These small sunfish are found in a small number of lakes in Idaho and were likely introduced inadvertently with other sunfish species (bass, pumpkinseeds) many decades ago. The species is native to east central North America. Green sunfish are slightly more elongate and not as deep bodied as their close relatives, bluegills and pumpkinseeds. They have a black opercular (gill cover) flap lined with red or orange, and are an attractive fish, particularly during spawning. Green sunfish are of little importance to Idaho fisheries, as they are too small to attract significant angling interest. The state record is 7 ? inches and a mere 5 ounces.

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