Fish book

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If you know someone who loves to go fishing in Idaho’s plethora of rivers, lakes and reservoirs, a new encyclopedic book titled “Fishes of Idaho, a Natural History Survey,” would be a very generous Christmas gift.

The only downside is that your fishing friend might have their nose buried in the book for hours, if not days. “Fishes of Idaho” is a wonderful guide to 17 of Idaho’s most popular fishing destinations, including the South Fork of the Boise River, Hells Canyon, C.J. Strike Reservoir, Silver Creek, Henrys Fork and South Fork of the Snake River, but it will teach everyone much more about all of the native fish found in Idaho, where to find them and a fascinating history lesson about how they got there.

We learn there are 48 native species of fish in Idaho. We have 26,000 miles of fishable streams, 200 lakes and reservoirs and 8,900 rivers and streams overall. The book provides detailed descriptions to almost 100 fish statewide, including color pictures of the fish and color maps where the fish are found in Idaho, details about what they eat, predatory threats, breeding habits, habitat and management.

The book is highly illustrated, which makes it fun to page through. My only criticism is that the small type used for the photo captions is very hard to read. I can see many seniors with a magnifying glass in hand trying to read those captions.

The late Gov. Cecil Andrus wrote the forward, saying, “We have in the state of Idaho probably the very best fishing in the entire world.”

Authors John Sigler and Donald Zaroban come from a scientific background, and they collaborated with all of the top fishing experts in Idaho to produce the book. Sigler has a Ph.D. in fisheries science from the University of Idaho and a masters in water quality from Utah State University. Zaroban has a master’s in fish biology from the University of Nebraska and a Ph.D. in natural resources from the University of Idaho. They’ve both spent a career working in fisheries, environmental issues and water quality.

I would expect that Fishes of Idaho will do very well in the marketplace because it’s so comprehensive and beautiful to behold. It’s very readable. About half of the state’s population buys a fishing license every year, so you have a large audience of captivated anglers who hunger for information about fishing in Idaho. For instance, what was that weird-looking fish that you caught in a remote high mountain lake … what kind of trout was that? How did it get there? Well, “Fishes of Idaho” will have the answer.

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