YAKIMA - Fishing for fall chinook and coho salmon opens today on a stretch of the Yakima River, thanks to cooperation between the Yakama Indian Nation and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
The fishery is open from the Highway 223 bridge at Granger to the closed water line 400 feet below Sunnyside (Parker) Dam.
Non-tribal anglers interested in fishing this stretch of the Yakima River, which borders the Yakama Nation's reservation, are required to possess both a WDFW fishing license and a Yakama tribal hunting and fishing permit. The permit is required for all non-tribal anglers, regardless of whether they fish from a boat or from either bank of the river.
The Yakama Nation, in its 1855 treaty with the federal government, reserved exclusive fishing rights for tribal members in all waters within and bordering the Yakama reservation. However, the Yakama Nation has agreed to open the reservation boundary section to fishing by all citizens, provided that non-tribal anglers purchase and possess a tribal permit.
Based on federal law, WDFW concurs with the Yakama Nation that the tribal permit is required for all non-tribal anglers, regardless of whether they fish from a boat or from either river bank.
Tribal hunting and fishing permits can be purchased from most fishing and hunting license dealers in the Yakima Valley. Children under 12 do not need a permit when accompanied by an adult possessing a valid permit, and adults 70 and over can obtain a complimentary permit at the Yakama Nation Wildlife Resource Management office.
WDFW enforcement officers will be assisting checking anglers in the reservation boundary section for possession of both the tribal permit and a WDFW fishing license. Failure to possess the tribal permit is a violation of tribal law and potentially a violation of federal law.
Also opening to salmon fishing on Sept. 1 is the lower stretch of the Yakima River, from the Highway 240 bridge in Richland to the Prosser Dam. A Yakama Nation fishing permit is not required on this stretch because the river does not border the reservation.