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Pacific Lamprey Historical Photo Search

Lamprey at Willamette Falls

Do you have any historical lamprey or eel photographs?

Pacific lamprey, sometimes called ‘eels,’ are one of the oldest creatures in the Columbia River Basin. Like salmon they are anadromous, spending time in the ocean and returning to spawn in freshwater tributaries. Unfortunately they haven’t been studied much and there are large gaps in our knowledge of these ancient fish. In an effort to further document lamprey’s significance to tribes and the ecosystem, CRITFC is attempting to paint a picture of the historic abundance and habitat range throughout the Columbia river basin using historical photographs and documents. We would greatly appreciate your help in this research.

Umatilla lamprey-drying camp

Prior to development of the Columbia River hydropower system, millions of Pacific lamprey migrated up the Columbia and Snake rivers to headwater tributaries to spawn. However, because accurate counts of lamprey were never undertaken, little historical information exists as to run sizes and which tributaries had lamprey populations. To help fill in this gap of knowledge, CRITFC is asking for your help to reconstruct the range and abundance of the species in the interior Columbia river basin.

We are currently compiling historic photographs, written accounts, newspaper articles, and other historic documents that show or reference Pacific lamprey in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, or British Columbia. If you have any family photos that include lamprey, we invite you to share them with CRITFC. If you have anything you’d like to share for this project, please contact us and/or send a copy of your photograph or documents to the project’s Dropbox folder or to the email address or physical address listed to the left. Along with any photographs or documents submitted to this solicitation please include any additional relevant information about the photograph or historic document such as:

  • Location
  • Date (month and year)
  • Photographer’s name
  • Where the original document is stored
  • Any other relevant information

Please also indicate whether you consider your information sensitive.

If you don’t have access to Dropbox or would like to send information or photos via email:

Project leader contact:
Adam Wicks-Arschack

(917) 684-4247


The Creator told the people that the eels would always return as long as the people took care of them, but if the people failed to care of them, they would disappear.

Ron Suppah

Warm Springs Tribal Councilmember


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