Everybody knows that salmon once surged through the Spokane River. But not everyone knows that it was, literally, one of the king rivers of the Northwest:
The Spokane River spawned the biggest of the big salmon, summer chinooks (kings) that were commonly 50 to 80 pounds.
The Spokane River was one of the most productive salmon streams in the entire Columbia system.
The summer fishing camps at Spokane Falls were famous among many tribes, even tribes from far away.
The total number of salmon running up the Spokane probably approached a million annually, of which about 300,000 were harvested by the Spokane tribe and other tribes.
Spokane’s early hotels did a thriving business among Eastern fishermen. The salmon were Spokane’s first major tourist attraction.
And then they were gone.