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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.

Suckers (Catostomids)

Bridgelip sucker (Catostomus columbianus)


The bridgelip sucker is a northwest species found in the Fraser River system of British Columbia and the Columbia River system in WN, OR, ID, and NV. In Idaho, the species is common in the Snake River system below Shoshone Falls, and the Spokane drainage. Its habitat includes colder water of rivers and streams, in moderate to slack current areas where the bottom is composed of sand and silt. It is seldom found in lakes. Little is known about the life history of this species. They spawn in the spring in British Columbia. Their food habits are not known. The flattened mouth and sharp-edged lower jaw suggest that they scrape algae from rocks. Like most suckers, they probably ingest some small, benthic invertebrates as they feed. Although a maximum size of 15 inches has been reported, most Idaho specimens are less about 10 inches in length. In some localities, the flesh from this species is used as cut bait.

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