Tribes Start Commercial Chinook, Steelhead
Fishery And Direct Sales To Public
Columbia Basin Bulletin Fish and Wildlife News 6/20/08
It's a new season and fresh salmon caught by tribal fishermen in
the Columbia River and tributaries is again available for
"This summer tribal fishery couldn't come at a better time since
the public has been inundated with the unfortunate news of salmon
fishery closures in other parts of the west," said Olney Patt Jr.,
executive director for the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish
Commission. CRITFC is the technical support and coordinating
agency for fishery management policies of four treaty tribes: the
Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the
Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon, the
Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation and the Nez
"But the Columbia's summer run is in good shape and our tribes are
committed to providing public access to this unique resource,"
Tribal fishers are taking to the river Monday morning for the
first of three anticipated commercial fishing seasons targeting
summer chinook salmon and steelhead. The initial summer gill-net
fishery runs from 6 a.m. June 23 through 6 p.m. June 25 in the
Columbia's Zone 6 - reservoirs above Bonneville Dam.
The tribes' scaffold and hook and line fishery began this past
Monday. Sales are planned on a daily basis until further notice.
Chinook, coho, steelhead, walleye, carp, and shad caught in the
fisheries may be sold or retained for subsistence by tribal
As of Saturday, tribal fishers will also be able to catch and sell
sockeye salmon. The Columbia River Compact on Thursday added
sockeye to the list, based on a run-size forecast update that
indicates escapement goals will likely be surpassed. That leaves
sockeye available for harvest. The Compact sets Columbia mainstem
Sturgeon may not be sold but may be retained for subsistence.
Additionally, Yakama Nation fishers can sell fish caught in the
Wind, White Salmon and Klickitat rivers when the tributary
openings overlap with either commercial openings for gillnet or
platform gear in Zone 6.
Commercial sales of platform/ hook and line caught fish landed in
the Yakama Nation subsistence fishery immediately below Bonneville
Dam will also be allowed. That fishery is located on the
Washington shoreline from 600 feet below the fish ladder at the
Bonneville Dam North shore powerhouse downstream to Beacon Rock.
Sales of fish there also coincide with Zone 6 sales with the
exception of sturgeon, which may not be retained for sale or
Biologists forecast this year's summer chinook run will total
52,000 upriver fish. CRITFC's Salmon Marketing Program anticipates
9,000 fish will be harvested with peak availability over the next
An estimated 326,400 upriver summer steelhead are expected to pass
Bonneville Dam in 2008, which is similar to the 2007 passage of
The sockeye forecast was updated this week from a preseason
estimate of 75,600 to the mouth of the Columbia to a return of at
least 100,000. By Wednesday more than 50,000 of the spawning
sockeye had passed Bonneville Dam. A management goal is to allow
the escapement 75,000 over the dam.
Steelhead passage at Bonneville is minor during June, but
increases significantly during July. A total of 8,000 had been
counted at the dam through Wednesday.
The Indian salmon harvest reflects age-old traditions that were
preserved by an 1855 treaty between the four Columbia Basin tribes
and the U.S. government. Nutrient-rich salmon, flush with
heart-healthful omega-3 fatty acids, figure prominently in native
culture. Tribal members have long honored its importance for food,
religion and livelihood.
Tribal fishers may be found selling fish at a number of locations
along the river: Marine Park at Cascade Locks, The Dalles' bridge
and the boat launch near Roosevelt, Washington. Commercial sales
will not occur on Corps of Engineers property at Bonneville Dam.
The public is urged to call the salmon marketing program at (888)
289-1855 before heading up the river to find out where the day's
catch is being sold.
More information is available on the salmon marketing website at
Price is determined at the point of sale and sales are cash only.