Lummi tribal fishermen harvested salmon from Whatcom Creek in August, for the first time in at least 100 years.
The chinook salmon were released as juveniles in 2017 from the Bellingham Technical College’s Fisheries and Aquaculture Science program’s hatchery, which works in partnership with tribal and state fisheries managers. When the chinook returned as adults, they congregated below the waterfalls in the creek beside the hatchery.
Whatcom Creek travels from Lake Whatcom through the city of Bellingham to Bellingham Bay, where a pulp and paper mill operated on the waterfront from 1926 to 2007.
“When they decided we could catch these fish for ceremonial and subsistence, my name came up, and they asked if I’d go fishing,” said Lummi fisherman Troy Olsen. “I said I’d love to do that.”