Below Bonneville fishery to re-open

The tribal subsistence fishery below the Bonneville dam will open this year on April 6.

The fishery will be open to tribal members from Sunday through Wednesday, with Wednesdays reserved for seniors (60 years and older).

The fishery will remain open at least until an estimated 500 spring chinook are caught from the sites below the dam.

When the 500-fish mark is reached, the Fish and Wildlife Committee will review how the spring run is going.

If the committee determines that the run is strong, as is predicted, then the below Bonneville fishery could stay open past the 500-fish mark.

Tribal Council approved the fishery resolution on Monday. This is a subsistence only fishery, with no sales allowed. Tribal members can use one pole each.

The tribes first re-opened the below Bonneville fishery in 2010. It proved to be popular with hook-and-line subsistence fishermen, said Bobby Brunoe, general manager of the Natural Resources Branch.

Before the 2010 re-opening, the tribes had not had a regular fishery there for some years.
Last year the Fish and Wildlife Committee chose not to open the below Bonneville subsistence fishery. Meanwhile, the 2014 spring chinook run was one of the best in many years, and the commercial fishery was open.

Many saw this as unfair to the subsistence fishermen. So this year the subsistence fishermen urged Tribal Council to re-open the below Bonneville subsistence fishery, and Council unanimously agreed.

Council heard testimony from many of subsistence fishermen on various issues related to the fishery.

One issue, for instance, has to do with younger fishermen riding mountain bikes first thing in the morning down to the best sites. This can result in the elder fishermen having no access to the sites.

The 2015 resolution specifies that a younger fisherman should yield his spot if an elder asks him to.

Discussion also concerned enforcement of the regulations, such as number of poles, minimum age for fishermen (12 years), no fishing from a boat; and drug and alcohol enforcement.
The Branch of Natural Resources, and a Warm Springs Police Department officer are going to provide the enforcement this year, Brunoe said.

There was discussion of prohibiting the possession of firearms at the fishering areas. Some told Council they needed a firearm to keep the seals away from scaffolding, and because of bears.

The resolution states that the Branch of Natural Resources will seek approved methods of seal and sea lion harassment.