Pygmy Whitefish (Prosopium coulteri)

Photo not available for this species
Category: Fish
State status: Sensitive
Vulnerability to climate change (More details)


Climate vulnerability

Sensitivity to climate change


Pygmy whitefish occupy cool lakes and streams with temperatures below 10°C, and are likely adapted to cold and low-productivity environments (i.e,. small size, early maturation), making them sensitive to increasing water temperatures. Warmer water temperatures may have direct physiological effects, allow upstream expansion of some populations (provided no barriers exist) and/or affect ecological interactions by expanding the range of potential predators or competitors. Wildfires that remove stream- or lake-side vegetation may exacerbate temperature increases and/or contribute to sedimentation, which can affect spawning habitat.

Confidence: Low

Exposure to climate change


  • Increased water temperatures
  • Altered fire regimes
Confidence: Low

Where you may encounter pygmy whitefish

Lakes where this species may be found

Chelan County
Kittitas County
Pend Oreille County


This species is identified as a Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) under the State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP). SGCN-classified species include both those with and without legal protection status under the Federal or State Endangered Species programs, as well as game species with low populations. The WDFW SWAP is part of a nationwide effort by all 50 states and five U.S. territories to develop conservation action plans for fish, wildlife and their natural habitats—identifying opportunities for species' recovery before they are imperiled and more limited.
This species is identified as a Priority Species under WDFW's Priority Habitat and Species Program. Priority species require protective measures for their survival due to their population status, sensitivity to habitat alteration, and/or recreational, commercial, or tribal importance. The PHS program is the agency's main means of sharing fish and wildlife information with local governments, landowners, and others who use it to protect priority habitats for land use planning.