Friday July 21, 2023


On the banks of the Willamette River near Oregon City, cooks grilled up food for hundreds of people. It’s a summertime barbecue with a twist.

The smell of sizzling lamprey drew people to a tent where Yakama Nation citizens placed three- to four-inch chunks of the fish onto the grill.

Evans Lewis manned the station.

“Just clean them, rinse them off and throw them on,” Lewis said.

Smoke filled his eyes as he tested the temperature of each piece of lamprey.

Pacific lamprey have served as an important food source for tribes since time immemorial.

“I think it’s delicious. So they’re very oily. So I put it on a grill. I just gut them, garlic salt and then just put them on the grill because they’re very oily. My grandpa likes to bake them,” said Dave’y Lumley, a biologist with the Yakama Nation Fisheries Pacific Lamprey Project.

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