The Mullet fish is a species of fish that is found in the Klamath Basin

Cover photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services

The Klamath Basin is a large watershed that encompasses parts of southern Oregon and northern California. It is home to a diverse array of fish species, including the Klamath River Basin redband trout, the Lost River sucker, and the shortnose sucker. The Klamath Basin is also home to the endangered coho salmon and steelhead trout.

Currently, remaining populations of shortnose sucker are found in the upper Klamath River and Lost River basins. In southern Oregon, this includes Upper Klamath Lake and Lake Ewauna. In northern California, they can be found in Gerber Reservoir and within the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex. 📸

The mullet fish is an important part of the Klamath Basin ecosystem. It provides food for other fish, birds, and mammals. It also helps to keep the water clean by filtering out pollutants. The mullet fish is a resilient species that has adapted to the harsh conditions of the Klamath Basin. It is able to survive in both cold and warm water, and it can tolerate a wide range of pH levels.

The mullet fish has a silvery body with a dark stripe running along its back. It is a bottom-dwelling fish that feeds on algae and other small organisms. The mullet fish was once a valuable resource for the people of the Klamath Basin. It was a source of food, and it also plays an important role in the ecosystem. The mullet fish is a reminder of the importance of protecting the Klamath Basin and its natural resources.

Article in “the EVENING HERALD, March 16, 1921

“This season of the year, as the other seasons, finds the Lost river dam alive with fisbermen, both Indians and white men, who are attracted there by the thousands and thousands of mullets which ascend the river to spawn, and which become virtually trapped by the semicircular enclousure formed by the dam and its backwater.

These splendid fish, over which no protective game law exist, can be pulled out of the water without bait, and with the crudest kind of hooks, with harpoon-like contrivances, and things like that. Many of them are taken from the water hooked in van lous ways, and from what a sightseer who visited the dam on Monday states, only a few of them were hooked in the mouth.

The Indians, figuratively speaking, are making hay while the sun shines, sun-drying and curing these fish for their winter larder, but many people find them delicacies in the truest sense, and prefer them to salmon and trout.

In fact, in taste,

they are somewhat similar to either of these fish, the flesh being firm, in contrast to what is known as the sucker family, in which some peo® ple place them.

The life history of these fish seems to lie between Tule lake and the dam. Where they originated, or when they originated, no one knows, as the earliest history of the Tule lake and Lost River country contains references to them which can be found in histories of no other parts of the country.

Bonelesa, except for the big bone with the smaller ones attached which runs along the back, this fish is for this reason a great favorite. It is not necessary to scale them elther, as the best way to prepare them for the table is to remove the skin .in one operation. The average weight of these fish is perhaps four pounds, and ten minutes’ Fishing will provide meals for a big Family for several days.


The short nose sucker and the mullet are two species of fish that share similar physical characteristics. These fish are described as having a short nose and a sucker-like mouth, which allows them to feed by attaching to surfaces and sucking in food particles. These descriptions are consistent with the information provided on the United States Fish and Wildlife Services website, which offers detailed information about various species of fish found in the United States.

Here is an exert from the Guardian.

As C’waam and Koptu’s numbers have dwindled, so has the image of these fish among the public. The suckerfish were praised for their delicate flakey meat well into the 20th century, including by white anglers. A 1959 article in the local Herald and News newspaper, which referred to the suckerfish as mullet, noted that people traveled from across the region to buy C’waam. Many “prefer the sweet meat of the mullet to any other fish”, the article said.

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Photo By/Credit: Jason Ching/University of Washington

The article mentions that the Klamath Basin is an extensive area that encompasses parts of Oregon and California, home to various fish species such as the Klamath River Basin redband trout, the Lost River sucker, and the shortnose sucker. It also houses the endangered coho salmon and steelhead trout. The mullet fish is important in this ecosystem as it provides food for other fish, birds, and mammals, as well as helping to maintain clean water by filtering out pollutants. These species share similar physical characteristics, such as a short nose and a suction cup-like mouth that allows them to feed by attaching to surfaces and sucking in food particles.

Here is a Oregon Public Broadcasting production:

section on algal Blooms in the Upper Klamath below.

C’waam and its cousin the Koptu were put on the endangered species list. Since then, for more than three decades, no member of the Klamath Tribes has legally harvested the species, which are endemic to a lake and series of rivers in southern Oregon known as the Klamath Basin and once formed the backbone to the tribes’ seasonal food system.

Next up: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service completes status review and finding for gray wolves in the Western United States; launches National Recovery Plan

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