Tribal members to dip for smelt on Sunday, March 15

03.12.2015 Dean Rhodes Culture, Events, Natural Resources

By Dean Rhodes

Smoke Signals editor

Tribal members will be dipping for smelt on the Sandy River east of Troutdale on Sunday, March 15.

The Tribe is organizing an excursion that will leave the Elders Activity Center at 6 a.m. Two vans will transport more than 20 Tribal Elders from Grand Ronde for the approximately two-hour drive to the Sandy River.

Tribal members will be able to dip nets for the small fish that was once a traditional food of Native Americans living along the Columbia River until noon.

The Tribe will supply 10 dip nets and people can catch up to 10 pounds per person.

On Jan. 28, fishery managers in Oregon and Washington set the spring smelt season for the Columbia River and some of its tributaries during a joint state hearing in Vancouver.

The smelt season on the Sandy River was designated as effective Saturday, March 7, and Sunday, March 15, from 6 a.m. to noon. Bank-only fishing is allowed, restricted to dip nets, and each person is limited to the aforementioned 10 pounds, which is about one-fourth of a five-gallon bucket.

Under Oregon fishing regulations, anglers do not need a license to harvest smelt.

Tribal members living elsewhere also can meet up with the Grand Ronde Elders at Lewis and Clark State Park, accessible via Exit 18 on Interstate 84 just east of Troutdale, between approximately 8 a.m. to noon to participate.