Some fish and wildlife issues see the state of Washington and local tribes working together — Pend Oreille pike removal.
Some fish and wildlife issues see them as adversaries — are tribal fishing access sites really reservations and not subject to state fishing regulations?
Rich Landers highlights one of the latter types of cases in his Thursday column for the Spokane Spokesman Review:
Colville Confederated Tribes fish and wildlife officers recently cited several Lake Roosevelt anglers for fishing without a tribal fishing license on land managed by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
The anglers aren’t happy about the $100 tickets or having their fishing gear confiscated on Geezer Beach next to Grand Coulee Dam. They thought they were on the side of the law.
The tribal officers said they were under reservation rules.
“It’s a place where old-timers can drive their cars down the shore when the water level is low,” said Connie Williamson, explaining the unofficial name of the site.
Williamson and several other anglers are risking personal expense to shine light on a legal issue they believe threatens public access on waters bordering the Colville and Spokane Indian reservations.
On several occasions, Williamson says, anglers have been cited as they were fishing on the north shore of Lake Roosevelt below the 1,310 elevation line, which is federal public land.
When the tribal fish and wildlife officer confronted them, (Donald) Fisher told the officer he believed the courts had proved he had a right to fish with a state license below the 1,310 line, which was up on the hillside above them.
“I told him the reservation doesn’t start until the 1,310 line,” Fisher said. “He then pointed to the middle of Lake Roosevelt and said, ‘That’s the 1,310 line.’?”
In other words, some tribal officials apparently are still challenging the 1994 Cassidy decision and insisting the tribe has jurisdiction of some sort out to the middle of Lake Roosevelt.
Chris Anderson, WDFW police captain, said the issue rises to another level.
“It’s up to the U.S. attorney’s office and the state attorney general to determine whether they can do that or not,” he said.
For more, read the rest of his column, Anglers at odds with Colville Tribe.