Smelt season open on Sandy River

Tribal Council has opened the smelt fishing for the Sandy River, as recommended by the Branch of Natural Resources Fisheries Department.

March is expected to be the best harvest month on the Sandy. The fishery is open to tribal members from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week.

Fishing will continue until the harvest reaches 5,500 or until the run ends.

The smelt fishing season earlier this year on the Cowlitz was a success, said Brad Houslet, BNR Fisheries Department manager.
At the Cowlitz tribal members harvested about 2,000 pounds of the smelt, or Pacific eulachon.

Natural Resources staff gave some of the Cowlitz smelt to tribal elders, Houslet said. Some other provisions in the Sandy smelt resolution:

Gear for the harvest is limited to dipnets. The Branch of Natural Resources is responsible for the biological monitoring of the fishery.

Pursuant to tribal law, tribal member fishers shall upon request allow authorized federal, state or tribal officers to inspect the catch.

A tribal member must carry an enrollment card at all times while fishing or transporting the fish. The member must produce the card upon by state or tribal enforcement officers. Any person who produces the tribal enrollment card is not required to produce a state fishing license.

Tribal members must report catch to Natural Resources on-site at fishery locations. Those not reporting on-site are to report the harvest within 24 hours at the Branch of Natural Resources office in Warm Springs.

This is a subsistence fishery. There is no harvest limit per individual within the tribal allocation of 5,500 pounds.

Subsistence fishing means the taking of fish by members is for personal use. This includes the sale or exchange with other treaty Indians for their personal use. No sales or trades are allowed with non-Indians.

Commercial fish sales are not allowed. The use of alcohol or drugs is prohibited when fishing under treaty rights.
Penalties for violations are strictly enforced to ensure compliance with all rules and regulations.

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