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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)

Paiute sculpin (Cottus beldingii)

Native

The Paiute sculpin occurs in the Lahontan and Bonneville basins and the Columbia River drainage, including the Snake River. It also occurs in the upper Colorado River drainage. In Idaho, this species is found in the Clearwater drainage, the Snake River above Shoshone Falls, the Bear River system, and the Big Lost River system. This species inhabits streams with slight to moderate current and is found in riffle areas among rubble or large gravel. It also occurs in lakes. Nothing is known of the life history of this species in Idaho, but in Lake Tahoe Paiute sculpins spawn in the spring. Eggs are laid in clusters on the undersides of rocks and are guarded by the male. Females produce from 20 to about eggs. Their food consists of a variety of aquatic invertebrates. They may reach 5 inches in length, but most adults are 2.5 to 4 inches long. This sculpin is an important prey item for some species of trout and char.

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