Tribe to fish Elwha this fall

Second fishery since dam removal limited to 400 cohos

PORT ANGELES — The Lower Elwha Kallam Tribe will hold a limited fishery on the Elwha River this fall, the tribe’s second fishery since dams on the river were removed more than a decade ago.

The fishery will run from late September to early October, according to Olympic National Park, with fishing limited to adult coho salmon on the lower three miles of the Elwha River.

The tribe held its first fishery since the dams were removed last October, the first ceremonial and subsistence fishery in more than 100 years.

“What we learned is that families were missing from the rivers,” said Frances Charles, chairwoman for the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe. “Being able to have that day in October to be able to see families with their children learning how to fish for the first time in their lives, that was something taken to the heart. That was what we had heard from elders, that we as people, we as Klallam people, were missing from the river and here we are today.”

The timing of this fishery is designed to minimize impacts to non-target salmonid species, particularly federally listed Chinook and steelhead, the national park said, and recreational and commercial fishing will resume when there is broad distribution of spawning adults above the former dam sites.

In an email, Lower Elwha Natural Resources Director Matt Beirne said the tribe is seeing positive data on fish recovery, even in the short time the dams have been down.

“Steelhead are recolonizing the watershed and naturally spawning in such numbers that, in accordance with the fish recovery plans, the Tribe’s hatchery program was able to dramatically reduce its egg take for hatchery supplementation,” Beirne said.

“Coho has had similar success thanks to the Tribe’s hatchery program and early efforts to outplant adults above the Elwha dam in the middle tributaries.”

Like last year, the fishery will be limited to 400 salmon, with tribal fisheries biologists and enforcement officers on site to monitor for regulations compliance and ensure impacts to non-target species are minimized. Last year’s fishery harvested 177 coho, the national park said.

“Our Natural Resources staff intensively monitored last year’s fishery — with hands on nearly every fish — collecting very good data,” Beirne said. “Our fishery started a bit late last year, after about half the fish were estimated to have passed, so we plan to start the fishery a couple weeks earlier this year.”

This year’s fishery is set to begin Sept. 26, rather than last year’s Oct. 8.

Data biologists collect from this fishery will be used to develop future commercial and recreational fisheries for coho and other salmon species.

Elwha River fish recovery monitoring is a long-term, cooperative effort involving the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, Olympic National Park, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Each year, project partners evaluate spawner abundance, distribution and juvenile production throughout the river system using a variety of tools including sonar, redd surveys, snorkel surveys, tangle net surveys and smolt trapping.

________

Reporter Peter Segall can be reached by email at peter.segall@peninsulanews.us.

More in News

Helen and Greg Starr, executors of James Minsky’s estate, cut the ribbon for LtCol James Minsky Place on May 17 with Cheri Tinker, executive director of Sarge’s Veteran Support, right, and Sarge’s board president Lorri Gilchrist, and city council members Harmony Rutter and Rachel Anderson. The facility will permanently house six disabled and/or elderly veterans in Sequim. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)
Minsky Place opens to support elderly, disabled veterans

Sarge’s Veteran Support seeks five veterans for permanent housing

Public comment opens on Dabob Bay

State, county look to move lands into conservation

Clallam renews pact with investigative unit

Agencies are currently investigating shooting outside PA bank

Motrocyclist airlifted to Harborview after wreck

A San Antonio man was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center… Continue reading

WomenSpirit Coalition staff members include, from left, Michelle Williams, Dee Koester, Diane Good (in back), Cheryl Neskahi Coan, Erin Lopez Neskahi and Laura Fierro. (Elijah Sussman/Olympic Peninsula News Group)
WomenSpirit Coalition steps into new phase

Multi-service indigenous support organization to host open house

Members of the Mount Olympus Detachment 897 of the Marine Corps League give a 21-gun salute at a Memorial Day ceremony at Mt. Angeles Memorial Park in Port Angeles on Monday. The ceremony was hosted by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6787 of Carlsborg and was one of many Memorial Day events held in Clallam and Jefferson counties. (Peter Segall/Peninsula News)
Solemn ceremonies honor America's war dead

Flowers, wreaths decorate gravesites across Peninsula

Peninsula College, teachers agree on contract

Three-year deal to raise faculty salaries

Clallam County pledges $1.5 million toward preserving two farms

Commitment would provide conservation easement on properties

Cub Scout Pack 4479 laid about 200 flags on graves of veterans at the Catholic Cemetery and the front portion of Laurel Grove Cemetery in Port Townsend to honor veterans who have died. Jim Little from Troop 1479 instructed the Cub Scouts prior to dispersing them to post the colors at graves that were either marked with a star by the VFW or an inscription that indicates past military service. (Lolo Sherwood)
Honoring veterans

Cub Scout Pack 4479 laid about 200 flags on graves of veterans… Continue reading

tsr
Piping plan could be reinstated

Votes reaffirm Sequim board members

Sequim police propose updated noise control ordinance

Public hearing set June 10 at civic center

Members of the Captain Joseph House Foundation gather in October to celebrate the gifting of a Gold Star Monument marker in front of the Captain Joseph House in Port Angeles. (Courtesy photo)
Captain Joseph House to host Memorial Day ceremony

Respite home provides space for Gold Star Families