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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.

Minnows (Cyprinids)

Speckled dace (Rhinichthys osculus)

Native

The speckled dace is found in the U.S. and Canada west of the continental divide. It occurs from the Columbia River system south to the Colorado River system in CA, NV, AZ, and UT. In Idaho, it is found in all tributaries of the Snake and Bear Rivers, the Spokane River system, and streams of the independent drainages. This species lives in a variety of habitats, but normally prefers the shallow, cool and slower moving waters rather that the swift riffles preferred by the longnose dace. They spawn in the spring and broadcast eggs over the gravelly bottom. Each female produces from 200 to 500 eggs. This benthic species is an omnivore, feeding on aquatic insects, plant material, and zooplankton. Speckled dace probably serve as forage fish for trout and other game species, and has been used as a bait fish in parts of its range.

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