On February 16th, 2023 Yakama Nation Tribal School students had the opportunity to fish for smelt in the Cowlitz River with Yakama Nation Fisheries staff. Even though the run was not very strong, the students gained invaluable experience in traditional fishing harvest of smelt -- a species that many tribal people relied on for subsistence in the winter season, especially in the Cowlitz River.
The Cowlitz River has always been an important fishing area for tribal people of the Yakama Nation. When strong runs allow, fisheries are open to tribal fishers to allow for harvest. This year, the fishery for Yakama Nation tribal members is open through March 2023 and for ceremonial or subsistence purposes only.
For further information on how to receive a permit, you can go here: https://yakamafish-nsn.gov/news/smelt-permits-available-0