Between being a student, husband and father, I don’t have much free time. When I do, I fish the Nisqually River. I’m terrible, but I love it. The serenity of the river and the simple repetition of cast, drift and reel rejuvenates my soul.
I’ve jealously watched tribal boats pull up and unload their haul of gill-netted salmon. When I’ve had the rare day off, wanted to fish but couldn’t, it was a tribal day.
I’ve heard anglers grumble about the tribes because the tribes are taking the salmon that don’t belong to them, that they barely work to get.
That perspective isn’t worthy of anyone older than seven. Native people fished the water of the Pacific Northwest for millennia. Thanks to Kennewick Man, we know that Native American tribes have lived in Washington for at least 9,000 years.
Today, 51 of the 113 salmon-producing hatcheries are managed by tribes. The tribes are responsible for 45 percent of the catchable salmon we take out of the water. We can still take home salmon and teach our kids to fish.
I’m thankful for what the tribes do. More anglers should be, too.