The end of the fall 2012 tribal salmon fishery marks the end of another productive and successful year for Columbia River salmon and the Indian fishers who depend on them. The numbers of returning salmon this year is a tribute to the four tribes’ hard work. Their efforts to restore salmon in the Columbia River basin and manage the fishery helped make this possible. The tribes never backed down in pressing the state and federal agencies to fulfill their trust responsibilities when they met to coordinate fishing seasons. A number of factors came together this year that the tribes and CRITFC have been working on for many years. This year’s fish run and fishing season is proof that the tribes’ efforts are seeing results. Of course we still have a long way to go before we can see the kinds of runs that our elders tell us about, but I am confident that it will be the tribes leading the way in the region’s efforts to accomplish this long-term goal.
Now that the main fishery is over for the year, it’s time to begin preparations for the winter with repairing gear and boats, stowing your equipment for the season, and making plans for the spring. CRITFC is also busy preparing for winter, as we are set to begin the second year of a three-year major cleanup of 17 treaty fishing access sites. This winter, we will be working on Three-Mile, Rufus, Roosevelt, Maryhill, White Salmon, and Lyle. The details of this project, along with the closure schedule, are detailed in this issue of the Dipnetter.
So enjoy this time as you prepare for the winter and look forward to getting back on the river in the spring. Next year, when the spring chinook are running, plan on enjoying the benefits of not only your own preparations but also our winter’s work.