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NW Wild Game
Fish & Shellfish

Northwest Fish & Shellfish

Capt. Lewis
Wednesday March 12th 1806

Beside the fish of this coast and river already mentioned we have met with the following speceis viz. the Whale, Porpus, Skaite, flounder, Migrating Salmon
Salmon, red char, two speceis of Salmon trout, mountain or speckled trout, and a speceis similar to one of those noticed on the Missouri within the mountains, called in the Eastern states, bottle-nose. I have no doubt but there are many other speceis of fish, which also exist in this quarter at different seasons of the year, which we have not had an opportunity of seeing. the shell fish are the Clam, perrewinkle, common mussle, cockle, and a speceis with a circular flat shell.

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The inland fisheries have changed significantly from the time of Lewis and Clark when the primary fish were cold water fish including:

Trout
Salmon
Char
Whitefish
Burbot
Sturgeon

 As the Northwest became populated with immigrants from the east there was a move to import warmwater fish into the streams and lakes of the Northwest.  These include:

Bass (Smallmouth and Largemouth)
Crappie
Bluegill
Yellow perch
Catfish
Walleye
Shad

The Columbia River is a prime walleye fishery and  how or when they were introduced is unknown.  The walleye is considered one of the best flavored freshwater fish but it is also a predator that has some impact on migrating salmon smolt.  Another transplant to the Columbia is the shad which was originally introduced into the Sacramento River in 1871 and migrated north to the Columbia River in the late 1800's.  Currently the shad run in the Columbia River is over 3 million fish.

The ocean fishery in the Northwest has a variety of fish that are caught by both commercial and sport fishermen including:

Salmon
Ling cod
Tuna
Halibut
Rock fish

 Along the coast there are large numbers of shellfish including Razor clams, Horse clams, Softshell clams, Geoducks, Oysters, Mussels and Scallops.  There are two species of crab,  the Dungeness and Red Rock crabs which provide an excellent feast.  One of the best eating clams in the Northwest is the Razor clam which is found from California to Alaska.