Sensitive Species


Sockeye Salmon

Sockeye salmon have become an Idaho legend. These fish with elongated, beak-looking snouts are born in five freshwater Sawtooth Valley lakes: Alturas, Pettit, Redfish, Stanley and Yellowbelly. 

Habitat: Once hatched, juvenile sockeyes will stay in the lakes for up to three years. In May, they travel more than 900 miles down the Columbia and Snake rivers and drop more than 6,500 feet in elevation out to the ocean, where they continue to grow, feeding on zooplankton (a tiny marine animal). There, they live and grow for one to four years. By this time, their average weight is between two to six pounds and their average length is between 16-26 inches. While they are living in the ocean, they have silver flanks with black speckles and a bluish top.   

For reasons no one knows, in June and July, the salmon make the 900 mile arduous journey back to the freshwater lake they were born in. As they return to their spawning grounds, their bodies turn bright red and their heads become a greenish color. Breeding-age males develop a humped back and hooked jaws filled with teeth. Shortly after they reach Idaho in October, they spawn and die; leaving the lakes to their young who hatch the following spring. 

Facts: Sockeye numbers have dwindled rapidly since about 1950 for a number of possible reasons. Dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers make migrationto the ocean difficult. A changing climate may also be affecting their numbers. Whatever the reason, land management agencies are working to improve salmon numbers.     

Land management agencies are currently studying the fish and are raising sockeye salmon in hatcheries, then releasing them into the wild, to prevent extinction. 


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Herbivore Mammals

Pygmy rabbit 
Desert cottontail 
Eastern gray squirrel 
Red squirrel 
Deer mouse
Kangaroo rat 
Meadow vole 
Mule deer 
Bighorn sheep 
American pronghorn 

Carnivore Mammals

American badger 
River otter 
Red fox 
Long-tailed weasel 
Grizzly bear 
Mountain lion   



  Long-toed salamander 
  Idaho giant salamander  
  Coeur d'Alene salamander

 Frogs and Toads  

  American bullfrog 
  Columbia spotted frog 
  Western toad 
  Northern leopard frog 
  Pacific tree frog 
  Great Basin spadefoot 



Painted turtle 
Northern alligator lizard 
Mohave black-collared lizard 
Short-horned lizard 
Desert horned lizard 
Sagebrush lizard 
Western fence lizard 
Western skink 
Side-blotched lizard 
Longnosed leopard lizard 
Western whiptail 



Western pipistrelle 
Western small-footed myotis 
Little brown bat 
Yuma myotis 
Townsend's big-eared bat 
Hoary bat 
Silver-haired bat 
Fringed myotis 
Pallid bat

Sensitive Species (not a complete list) 

Greater sage-grouse 
Pygmy rabbit 
No. Idaho ground squirrel 
So. Idaho ground squirrel
Canada lynx 
Grizzly bear 
Selkirk Mtns. woodland caribou 
Kootenai White River sturgeon 
Bull trout 
Sockeye salmon 
Chinook salmon 
Steelhead trout 
Yellow-billed cuckoo