chief joseph dam

Courtney Flatt/Northwest Public Broadcasting

Salmon are now swimming in the upper Columbia River for the first time in decades. For tribes, Friday’s ceremonial fish release is a big step toward catching fish in traditional waters.

Cheers erupted from the crowd as the first salmon was released since 1955 into the Columbia River above Chief Joseph Dam.

It was the first of 30 fish released. A truck transported the salmon up and around the dam in northeastern Washington. A chain of people lined up shoulder-to-shoulder. They passed bags filled with one salmon at a time from the truck to the river.