Tribe harvests 15 salmon limit on May 16

05.17.2023 Dean Rhodes Fishing, Willamette Falls, Ceremony
Tribal members fish from the removable platform at Willamette Falls in 2018. Due to high water levels, Tribal members were unable to fish from the platform and instead fished from the rocks on Tuesday, May 16, 2023. (Smoke Signals file photo)


OREGON CITY – Tribal members went to the site of the removable Tribal fishing platform at Willamette Falls on Tuesday, May 16, but were unable to erect the platform because water flows were too high and dangerous.

However, Tribal fishermen fished from the rocks instead and caught the Tribe’s full allotment of 15 salmon.

“Our fishing season ended in less than two hours,” Tribal Fish & Wildlife Program Manager Kelly Dirksen said.

The Grand Ronde Tribe is allowed to catch 15 hatchery grown Chinook salmon or summer steelhead for ceremonial purposes per Oregon Department of State Lands rules. The removable platform has been erected since October 2018 and was not used in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fishers and construction crew included Andrew Freeman, Bobby Mercier, Daniel Mooney and Nick Kimsey while Leo Ayala, Kyle Rowe, Kyle McLaughlin and Brandon Weems provided staff and safety support.

Shore help was provided by Kim D’Aquila, Lindsay McClary and Matt Zimbrick, and Terry Kowing, Nick LaBonte, Sara Thompson, Jade Unger, Lisa Archuleta, Jordan Mercier, Brian Krehbiel, Colby Drake and Brad Leno maintained their swift water rescue certifications.

“All of them continually show selfless dedication to the cause. I am sincerely humbled and grateful for the chance to be around this amazing group of folks,” Dirksen said in an e-mail sent to Tribal Council.