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Coho salmon, also known as "silver salmon," are anadromous fish. That means they are born in freshwater, migrate to saltwater, and return to freshwater to spawn. Adult coho range from ... more8-12 pounds. They are a bright silver color in the ocean, but turn red when spawning. Upper and lower jaws become "hooked" as Coho approach spawning. Sharp teeth appear on tongue and roof of mouth. Spotting on tail fin is limited to the upper half. Coho have black mouths and white gums.

Life History
Coho spawn in October and November. Males and females die after spawning. The fry usually hatch out in March or April. Coho generally spend at least one year in fresh water before migrating to the ocean. They will generally return to their freshwater spawning grounds as three year olds, with a few waiting one more year.

Feeding Habits
Young Coho are voracious feeders focusing on plankton and aquatic insects in fresh water. Once they reach salt water they turn to a diet of fish. Adults returning to fresh water do not feed actively.

Angling Techniques
It is illegal to harvest Coho in Idaho. The Coho in the Clearwater River Drainage are the result of a reintroduction effort by the Nez Perce Tribe in cooperation with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. To date the program has not produced enough returning adults to justify a season. Because this is a reintroduced run of fish, it is not listed under the Endangered Species Act.
There are conflicting ideas among experts as to whether the walleye (Sander vitreus) is native to Montana or not. Regardless, it is one of the most important sport fishes in Montana's ... moreeastern drainage and elsewhere in the U.S. and in Canada, where the walleye is a much sought-after commercial fish as well. Its flesh is of the highest quality. In recent years some sportsmen's groups in Montana have aggressively pursued the increased planting of walleye and promoted walleye fishing tournaments. Sometimes walleye hybridize with sauger, producing sterile saugeye. Adult walleye largely eat fish and for the most part are lake and reservoir dwellers. Walleye are so named because of their large, reflective eyes which are very light-sensitive. They are very active at night.
The smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu) has been called "pound for pound the best fighting game fish alive." Smallmouth are native to eastern central North America but were widely ... morepropagated in hatcheries and planted as early as the mid-1800s. They were first transplanted to Horseshoe Lake near Bigfork in 1914 and are still being introduced in selected locations by the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Smallmouth bass are primarily a stream fish but are also doing well in reservoirs like Fort Peck and Tongue River where specimens over 5 pounds have been taken. Smallmouth are spring, nest-building spawners. Due to erratic spring weather, nesting failure in Montana is not unusual. Smallmouth bass eat insects, frogs, crayfish, and fish.
The largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) is the largest and most widely acclaimed gamefish in the sunfish family. Largemouth are true warmwater fish, thriving in temperatures up ... moreto 90 F in their native southeastern U.S. The largemouth bass may be the most widely introduced species in North America and are now found virtually all across the continent as well as east and west of the Divide in Montana. Another spring spawning nest-builder, the largemouth bass prefers habitat that is very warm, such as weedy ponds or sloughs. They are seldom found in rivers or in waters deeper than 20 feet. An aggressive and opportunistic surface-feeder, largemouth bass are primarily fish-eaters. They also will eat nearly any other water-borne animal on occasion. The Montana record largemouth bass is a little over 8 pounds, but the world record is 22 pounds. Largemouth bass do well in many marginal trout ponds but are subject to winterkill and often need to be restocked.
The Westslope Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii lewisi) is one of two subspecies of native cutthroat found in the state. Together, they have been designated Montana's state fish. ... moreCutthroat trout are so named for the red slashes near the lower jaws. The Westslope Cutthroat Trout's historical range was all of Montana west of the Continental Divide as well as the upper Missouri River drainage. This fish has been seriously reduced in its range by two primary factors: hybridization with Rainbow and/or Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout, and habitat loss and degradation. Since the Westslope is recognized as a very important part of our native fish fauna it has been designated a Montana Fish of Special Concern in Montana. Pure Westslope Cutthroat Trout have been identified by genetic analysis and form the broodstock maintained by the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks at its Anaconda hatchery. The average size of these fish is 6 to 16 inches, depending on habitat, but they rarely exceed 18 inches in length.

Westslope Cutthroat Trout are common in both headwaters lake and stream environments. They feed primarily on aquatic insect life and zooplankton. Cutthroat spawn in the spring in running water, burying their eggs in a nest called a redd. The eggs hatch in a few weeks to a couple of months. The newborn fry frequently migrate back to lakes to rear after 1 to 2 years in their native stream. Westslope Cutthroat Trout is a trout with small, non-rounded spots, with few spots on the anterior body below the lateral line. Coloration varies, but generally is silver with yellowish hints, though bright yellow, orange, and especially red colors can be expressed to a much greater extent than on coastal or Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout (Behnke 1992). Hybridization between Westslope and Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout can produce a spectrum of spotting and coloration ranging between the typical patterns of each subspecies. Some populations that have been affected by hybridization show little or no phenotypic signs of hybridization (Behnke 1992). Hybridization with Rainbow Trout can be detected by the appearance of spots on the top of the head and on the anterior body below the lateral line, as well as by reduced scale counts, increased caecal counts, and loss of basibranchial teeth (Behnke 1992).
The Lake Trout (Salvelinus namaycush) is a char of the same genus as Bull Trout and Brook Trout. Lake Trout are native in the St. Mary and Missouri River drainages and have been introduced ... moreto a few other scattered mountain lakes, Flathead Lake, and Fort Peck Reservoir. Lake Trout are a major game fish in much of Canada and were at one time a staple of the Great Lakes fishery. In Montana, the Lake Trout of Flathead Lake have achieved trophy status, growing to 42 pounds. Lake Trout inhabit very deep, cold lakes, living in water up to 200 feet deep. They spawn in the fall on the rocky substrate of the shoreline. They scatter or broadcast their spawn, a rarity in the trout group. Small Lake Trout feed on plankton and aquatic invertebrates but fish over 2 to 3 pounds eat a fish diet. Lake Trout are a highly-prized food fish in Canada and are catching on as a game fish in Montana with the advent of downriggers, electronic fish finders, and other specialized techniques.
The kokanee is the landlocked version of the sockeye salmon. Kokanee were first introduced into Montana in Flathead Lake in 1914 and are currently fairly widespread in the western ... morehalf of the state on both sides of the Divide. Kokanee can achieve sizes of 3 to 5 pounds but 1-pounders are most common. The size of kokanee in Montana waters is a function of two factors, their own population density and the abundance of their available food supply. Kokanee are strictly plankton feeders and they can rapidly overpopulate, resulting in large numbers of stunted fish. Kokanee spawn naturally in many Montana waters. They either run upstream from their lake habitat or spawn along the lake shorelines in the fall. Most kokanee reach sexual maturity in their fourth year of life and they then undergo a dramatic transformation prior to spawning. The silvery specimen seen here becomes a smooth-skinned, red-colored spawning fish with large hooked jaws and teeth on the males. All the adults die after spawning, making for a tremendous food source for bald eagles, grizzly bears, and other animals. Kokanee are very sensitive to water temperature and school in lakes at a certain depth. Once located, they are readily caught and provide excellent sport as well as table fare.
One of two Pacific salmon species in Montana, the chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), was introduced into Fort Peck Reservoir during the 1980s in an effort to produce a trophy ... morefishery. Like all Pacific salmon species, the chinook dies after spawning. It is doubtful that these fish will reproduce in Fort Peck, but due to their intense homing instinct they will return to where they were stocked when they are ready to spawn. They may then be captured and artificially propagated in the hatchery. While still experimental, chinooks of over 25 pounds have already been captured in Montana. Chinook, also known as "king salmon", are intense fish predators as adults.
The golden trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss aguabonita) is a California species that was introduced in Montana in 1907. There are currently about 20 golden trout populations in the high ... moremountain lakes of western and southcentral Montana. They provide a unique opportunity to catch a beautiful fish in a pristine environment. Golden trout up to 4 pounds have been caught in Montana but typical size is usually 6-12 inches. Golden trout are spring spawners and can usually be found in inlet or outlet streams to high mountain lakes around the Fourth of July. Like other mountain lake trout species, they are opportunistic feeders, surviving off a variety of aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates.
The native Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) has been determined to be a separate species from the coastal Dolly Varden. Bull Trout are found in the Clark Fork and Flathead drainages ... moreof western Montana, and their slowly declining trend has led to their designation as a threatened species. Bull Trout are a sensitive species that do not tolerate high sediment levels in their spawning streams. Sediment can suffocate the developing embryos before they hatch. In Flathead Lake, where they achieve trophy sizes of up to 25 pounds, the Bull Trout life cycle has been studied extensively. Adult Bull Trout ascend the North and Middle forks of the Flathead River to spawn in small tributary streams; in some cases traveling well over 100 miles in a few months. They spawn in the fall and the adults return to the lake. Young fish may spend up to three years in the tributaries before returning to mature in Flathead Lake. In other river systems, Bull Trout may be a resident stream fish.

Often, native Bull Trout have been displaced through competitive interaction with introduced Brook Trout. Bull Trout and Brook Trout will interbreed, resulting in sterile hybrids, which leads to a further decrease in Bull Trout populations. The Bull Trout may be considered the Grizzly Bear of the fish world in relationship to its need for unaltered habitat. Young Bull Trout feed primarily on aquatic invertebrates but adults eat mostly other fish (Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks). Resident adults are 15 to 30 centimeters in length whereas migratory adults commonly exceed 60 centimeters (Rieman and McIntyre 1993).