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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.

Sculpins (Cottids)

Torrent sculpin (Cottus rhotheus)


The torrent sculpin is native to the Columbia and Fraser Rivers and tributaries in British Columbia, WA, OR, ID, and northwestern MT. It also is found in coastal drainages from Puget Sound to the central OR coast. In Idaho, this species is common in the Kootenai, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Palouse, and Clearwater Rivers. It also has taken from Warm Lake Creek (SF Salmon) and the main Salmon River. Its habitat typically is the middle reaches of streams in swift, cool water with a stable substrate of gravel, rubble, or boulders. It also occurs in lakes. This species spawns in the spring in the same manner as other sculpins. Females produce from about 100 to 350 eggs, depending on their size. Food includes a variety of aquatic invertebrates, small fish and fish eggs. This is a large sculpin, reaching a length of 6 inches or more. Torrent sculpins probably serve as a forage fish for trout and chars.

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