Outdoors

Fisheries reform may not boost upper Columbia angling

Henry “Hobo” Stensgar   catches salmon below the Chief Joseph Dam. Rights of the region’s tribal members include fishing these waters, using nets and snagging. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Henry “Hobo” Stensgar catches salmon below the Chief Joseph Dam. Rights of the region’s tribal members include fishing these waters, using nets and snagging. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

FISHING — Our recent report on the reaction to drastic changes proposed for Columbia River commercial and recreational fisheries has prompted a heads up for anglers in the upper Columbia River.

The comment on lower Columbia River fisheries reform being debated by Washington and Oregon comes from Paul Lumley, executive director of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission:

A recent story in The Spokesman-Review paints the Columbia River’s Lower River Fisheries Reform process as a potential boon for fishermen in the upper Columbia. Certainly a boon for fishermen in the lower Columbia, the proposal has yet to pass the sniff test.

At this point, the “boon” for Eastern Washington fishermen is little more than wishful thinking. The states have not provided any credible harvest impacts analysis to their peers in federal and tribal governments, nor to the public.

If the region wants to increase recreational fishing opportunities we need to be working together to rebuild abundance. The region has demonstrated that cooperation can rebuild abundant naturally spawning fall chinook in Hanford Reach, which now support fisheries from Kennewick to Ketchikan. 

By all indications, the proposal is not about conservation, it is about providing even more to an already voracious lower river recreational fishery. Real conservation will come from us working together and restoring salmon passage in the upper Columbia Basin. This, along with other actions, will rebuild abundance. Abundance allows everyone to go fishing, not just fishermen in the lower Columbia 




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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