Commercial Fishery Season opens for first time in Klamath since 2015

KLAMATH, Ca (KIEM) – Over in Klamath, Commercial Fishery Season is open for the first time since 2015. According to the Yurok Tribe, it was due to protect some of the lowest salmon runs on record. But now Tribal Members are casting their nets to catch as much fish as they can. We bring you more.

 “I’m really excited. For a long time, fishers have not had the opportunity to fish. The water with the dams haven’t been so healthy for the fish. We’ve noticed there hasn’t been many out there,” said Lena-Belle Gensaw, a Commercial Fisherwoman.

Lena-Belle Gensaw is a Tribal Fisherwoman who is happy that she can fish by the Requa dock. She relies on the Commercial Fishery Season to be able to afford clothes and school supplies for her two boys.

“I have two sons; they’re twin boys. So I use this time to fish, and for them not to have it, it’s hard to feed salmon or get on nutritional dieting,” said Gensaw. 

With the season open, it is go time. But there is a certain limit of fish to be caught for the season.

“This year we’re going to be targeting 14,000 some odd fish for subsistence purposes, and the rest are going to go to commercial fisheries,” said Dave Hillemeier, Fishery Director.

Fishing for salmon is a tradition for the Yurok Tribe. But it’s not easy. It can be hard labor work.

“Getting up early, making sure you have all of your right equipment. You need your boat, you need your nets, and you need your coolers. And you have to have your good spot,” said Amber Gensaw, a Commercial Fisherwoman. 

The Tribe is conducting a small Commercial Fishery on the Lower Klamath River because the forecast is large enough for a sustainable harvest. For some, catching fish may be a slow start to the season.

“The first day that I sat in. Me and my partner, we sat in, and we caught a fish right off the bat. We were like, oh it’s going to be a good day. We sat out there for a couple of hours, and we didn’t catch [any] more fish. We were one of the only three people to turn in a fish that day,” said Amber Gensaw.

Commercial Fishery Season ends at the end of September or until the allocation number of fish is reached.