The Nez Perce, Umatilla, Warm Springs and Yakama tribes opened the first of three commercial fishing periods for the 2010 fall commercial season Tuesday.
The tribal sales allow the public to purchase salmon and steelhead directly from tribal fishers.
Most of the catch will be chinook salmon and steelhead with smaller numbers of coho salmon also available. The large run of salmon and steelhead should result in on-going sales of Columbia River fish for the next several weeks.
Fisheries biologists estimate that 555,700 upriver fall chinook and up to 450,000 summer steelhead will enter the Columbia River. This year's fall fishery should allow for sales of fall chinook and steelhead to continue into late September. Harvest managers will monitor the runs on a continual basis and adjust the harvest levels and fishing periods accordingly.
"The tribal fall fisheries season is very important to tribal fishing families and provides an important economic benefit to communities along the river," said Paul Lumley, executive director of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission. "The fall fishery is often viewed as the backbone for the tribes' fishing economy because of its reliability. The tribes welcome the non-tribal public to experience the Columbia River Indian salmon harvest by purchasing salmon."
The tribal fishery offers an ample supply of fish for the public through over-the-bank sales throughout the area. Common sales locations include:
Marine Park in Cascade Locks, Lone Pine in The Dalles, North Bonneville -- one mile east of Bonneville Dam, and Columbia Point in Washington's Tri-Cities area.
So pack a cooler with ice and keep the following tips in mind:
-- Sales from tribal fishers generally run from to dusk.
-- Price is determined at the point of sale.
-- Most sales are cash only.
-- Buyers should request a receipt.
-- Tribal fishers can advise on topics including fish freshness and preparation.
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 http://www.critfc.org/harvest/index.html