June 17, 2021 CTUIR Tributary Regulations for Spring/Summer Chinook Fisheries

Posted by Chelsey Dick on 6/16/2021 12:30:00 PM

6/17/21

2021 CTUIR Emergency Tributary Regulations for Spring/Summer Chinook Fisheries

Pursuant to Chapter 2 of the Fish and Wildlife Code of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the FWC has the authority to establish regulations for Umatilla ceremonial, subsistence, and commercial fisheries.  Pursuant to that authority, the FWC adopted the following regulations:

Acronyms:

ERS      = Expected Run Size, which includes both hatchery and natural origin adult projections;

TBD     = To Be Determined;

N/A      = Not Applicable.

Notes:

Fishing for ESA-listed bull trout & Pacific Lamprey shall be closed on all listed streams at this time.  Fishing for rainbow, mountain whitefish and all other resident fish year around is permitted under permanent regulation.

In season run information:

The Snake Basin Coordination meeting occurs on a weekly basis to update in-season run estimates to Grande Ronde and Imnaha River subasins.  On June 16, co-managers downgraded expected returns to the Wallowa/Lostine Rivers and Lookingglass Creek while increasing projections to the Imnaha River and Catherine Creek (see table above). Closed streams are not predicted to meet broodstock and/or escapement goals for that respective stream or where the harvest target has been reached.

CATHERINE CREEK FISHERY

Spring Chinook adult returns to Catherine Creek in 2021 are expected to be about 115 natural and 337 hatchery fish.  A fish harvest target of 1 natural fish and 10 hatchery fish has been identified by the Fish and Wildlife Commission.  Jacks can be kept and will not be included in this harvest target.  The fishery will occur immediately below the weir (see description below) where broodstock are taken, fish are passed above and many are taken to lower Lookingglass Creek to augment the fishery there. 

SEASON & LOCATIONS:  The area open to fishing by CTUIR tribal members will occur in a 1.5-mile reach of Catherine Creek starting from the highway 203 bridge at the east edge of Union upstream below the weir/adult trap.  The Catherine Creek fishery will occur seven days per week and continue until the harvest target has been met or until further notice.  A fish harvest monitor will confirm hatchery and wild fish catch composition.  The catch of hatchery fish will be limited by the harvest of natural fish and fishers will be notified when the natural harvest quota has been met. This area is all privately owned land and fishers are asked to access at the top and bottom boundaries and at a mid-way turnout where the stream is near the road.

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IMNAHA RIVER FISHERY

Spring Chinook returns to the Imnaha River in 2021 are expected to be about 275 natural and 1,286 hatchery fish. Tribal fish harvest target of 3 natural and 121 hatchery fish have been set by the FWC.   A joint CTUIR/NPT fishery will occur this year and the fish harvest targets are the total available fish for both tribes.  The FWC may adjust the harvest target as additional in-season information becomes available.

SEASON & LOCATIONS:  The area open to fishing by CTUIR tribal members will occur in the Imnaha River from the mouth up approximately 55 miles to below the fish weir near the mouth of Gumboot Creek.   Primary spawning areas above the fish weir will remain closed to spring Chinook fishing.   The Imnaha River fishery will occur seven days per week and continue until the harvest target has been met or until further notice.

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LOOKINGGLASS CREEK FISHERY

Spring Chinook returns destined to Lookingglass Creek (from CTUIR supplementation effort and adult outplants from Catherine Creek to lower Lookingglass Creek) are expected to allow for broodstock and spawning escapement needs. Lookingglass Creek natural and hatchery origin fish are being considered as composite population for harvest management at this time.  Spring Chinook adult returns to Lookingglass Creek in 2021 are expected to be about 62 natural and 214 hatchery fish.  A CTUIR harvest target of 5 natural fish and 28 hatchery fish has been identified by the Fish and Wildlife Commission as part of a joint CTUIR/NPT fishery.  Jacks can be kept and will not be included in this harvest target.  This will create an opportunity for a fishery in lower Lookingglass Creek in 2021.  As of June 15, there’s approximately 15 hatchery and 5 natural fish remaining for harvest.

SEASON & LOCATIONS: The fishery will occur from Lookingglass Hatchery Pump House weir down to the Highway Bridge just above the mouth of Lookingglass Creek (about two stream miles). There shall be no trespass/walking on/fishing from hatchery facilities such as fish ladder, fish weir, etc. The Lookingglass Creek fishery will occur seven days per week and continue until the harvest target has been met or until further notice.

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NORTH FORK JOHN DAY FISHERY

The John Day River supports the largest naturally producing spring Chinook run in NE Oregon.  The North Fork John Day supports the majority of this production.  The John Day River has supported runs ranging from an average of 2,000-4,000 spring Chinook in most recent years.  In order to exercise treaty fishing rights while allowing for continued population rebuilding, the John Day River Spring Chinook harvest targets are based on a “not to exceed 5%”of a conservatively estimated adult return.  Based on this, a tribal fish harvest target of 25 fish has been set by the FWC.   As of June 15, there’s approximately 21 fish remaining for harvest.

SEASON & LOCATIONS:  The area open to fishing by CTUIR tribal members will occur in the mainstem North Fork John Day River with on opening seven days per week and continue until harvest target has been reached or until further notice.  All other tributaries in the John Day Basin are CLOSED to spring Chinook fishing.  This closure includes tributaries; Bull Run Creek, the Middle Fork John Day River and upper mainstem John Day River.

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UMATILLA RIVER FISHERY

RUN STATUS: In-season adult returns to Threemile Dam are expected to exceed 1,000 adults.  The five year average is approximately 2,086 adult spring Chinook.  The broodstock collection goal of 550 fish has been achieved at Threemile Dam facility and transported to the South Fork Walla Walla facility for holding and spawning.

SEASON:  Open to spring Chinook season starting on May 25, 2021 and continues until the harvest target of 75 fish is met or until further notice.   As of June 15, approximately 62 fish are remaining for harvest. 

LOCATION:  Umatilla River and tributaries above the Hwy 30 bridge at Umatilla, except for natural production sanctuary areas above the reservation.  Sanctuary areas closed to fishing are: 1) the upper mainstem Umatilla River and its tributaries above the upper reservation boundary (above mouth of Ryan Creek); and; 2) Meacham Creek and tributaries above the paved county road bridge about 1/2 mile up Meacham Creek from its mouth.  NOTE: Above sanctuary areas are to protect salmon in the basins primary spawning habitat.   Also, 200 foot area (markers  posted) above  and  below  the  outlet  of  the  lmaques-C-Mem-lni-Kem  fish  facility  and  all  irrigation diversions dams/ladders will be closed to fishing.

WALLOWA/LOSTINE RIVER FISHERY

Spring Chinook returns to the Wallowa/Lostine River in 2021 are expected to be about 246 natural and 554 hatchery fish.  Tribal fish harvest target of 2 natural and 40 hatchery fish have been set by the FWC.  A joint CTUIR/NPT fishery will occur this year and the fish harvest targets are the total available for both tribes.  The FWC may adjust the harvest target as additional in-season information becomes available.

SEASON & LOCATIONS: The area open to fishing by the CTUIR tribal members will occur in the Wallowa River from its confluence with the Minam River upstream to the confluence with the Lostine River; then a 0.75 mile reach from the mouth of the Lostine River upstream to below the weir/adult trap.  Primary spawning areas above the fish weir will remain CLOSED to spring/summer Chinook fishing.  The Wallowa/Lostine fishery will occur in seven days per week and will continue until the harvest target has been met or until further notice.

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YAKIMA RIVER FISHERY

SEASON AND LOCATIONS:  Yakima River from Prosser Dam downstream to west and south shores of Bateman Island.  Fishing is allowed from noon Tuesdays through 6 pm Saturdays weekly through June 26, 2021.  The expected run size for the Yakima River is 3,170 for 2021.  The five year average is 3,744.

SPECIFIC RESTRICTIONS:  It shall be unlawful to place fishing platforms, or to take, molest, injure, or fish for salmon and steelhead within 25 feet of any fish ladder, fishway, or fish bypass pipes associated with irrigation canal fish screening structures.

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NON-INDIAN TROUT FISHING CLOSURE ON UMATILLA INDIAN RESERVATION:

Non-Indian trout fishing in the Umatilla River and tributaries on the Umatilla Indian Reservation - except McKay Creek system - is CLOSED through September 15, 2021 to provide increased protection to spring Chinook.

FOR SAFETY CONCERNS: It shall be unlawful to take or attempt to take fish from within 25 feet above or below fishways (e.g. adult fish ladders at Threemile Dam, Cold Springs Dam, and Westland Dam, etc.). There shall be no trespassing/walking on/fishing from dam and/or hatchery facilities such as fish ladder, fish weir, etc.

VALUE OF HARVEST DATA:

Information on the tribal spring Chinook harvest and ability and success of spring Chinook to remain and spawn in these rivers are important to the Tribe.  Tribal harvest monitors will be out monitoring catch and obtaining other biological data.  The Fish and Wildlife Commission requests that tribal fishers cooperate with call-in catch reporting and in the field with tribal harvest monitors regarding catch information tagged fish, etc.  This information will help provide a database which fishery managers can utilize for the enhancement of the ceded area populations.  Also, the harvest monitor has the permission of the Fish and Wildlife Commission to notify tribal fishers when a specific target has been met.  In this case, fishing in that stream would be closed immediately and a public notice would be posted the next work day. In addition, post-season interviews will be conducted following in late summer/early fall; specific to Northeast Oregon tributary harvest.

LANDOWNER PERMISSION:

Fishers are entitled to river access throughout the open river corridors but should first inquire with local landowners if private driveway or field access is desired.  Any trespass issues resulting from lack of landowner coordination may impact future access opportunities. If landowner access is denied, please report the denial to the CTUIR’s Harvest Manager, Preston Bronson, at (541) 429-7277.   Your cooperation is appreciated.

Contacts/questions:

(541) 429 – 7382         Jeremy Wolf, Chairman, Fish and Wildlife Commission;

(541) 429 – 7285         Gary James, Fisheries Program Manager or;

(541) 429 – 7277         Preston Bronson, Harvest Manager.

COVID-19 Safety Reminders:

The CTUIR Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) and Incident Command (IC) encourages’ you to practice your treaty rights by following the COVID-19 “Stay safe, Stay Healthy” preventative measures:

  1. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds:
  2. Wear face coverings and cover coughs and sneezes;
  3. Maintain social distancing of 6 feet whenever possible;
  4. Stay home if you are sick;
  5. Keep groups comprised of no more than eight (8) direct family members, from no more than two (2) households;
  6. Clean your tools, equipment and/or gear with sanitizer, particularly if/when you have to share.

Additional information:

There’s been a CTUIR COVID-19 Resource website established @ https://www.ctuircovid.info/ and CRITFC has a website for tribal fisher to reference @ https://www.critfc.org/safe-fishers-safe-fisheries and https://www.critfc.org/blog/fishery/covid-safe-harvest-sales-workshop.

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The attached June 17, 2021 CTUIR Tributary Regulations for Spring/Summer Chinook Fisheries were approved by Fish & Wildlife Commission on June 17, 2021.