Environment | Law

Column: Colville Tribes ax case against non-Indian anglers





The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation in Washington are asserting jurisdiction over non-Indian anglers but recently dropped charges against a couple who were cited for fishing on Lake Roosevelt:
Rain runoff is clouding the region’s streams this week, but their murkiness isn’t even close to matching the jurisdictional dispute on the waters of Lake Roosevelt.

Don and Christine Fisher of Electric City tried to clear up the question of what fishing license is needed on the Columbia River reservoir bordering the Colville Indian Reservation.

But last week, after a year a half, the tribe’s enforcement and judicial systems suspended their spell of intimidation and chickened out.

Nothing gained.

In 2012, Colville Confederated Tribes fish and wildlife officers began citing Lake Roosevelt anglers who did not have tribal fishing licenses as they cast their lines on Geezer Beach next to Grand Coulee Dam.

The anglers were outraged, since they were fishing from land managed by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and below the elevation of 1,310 feet, which the courts have established as the boundary of federal land on Lake Roosevelt. When the ticketed anglers asked the state Department of Fish and Wildlife for guidance, they were told that only a state fishing license is needed to fish from that area. But officials admitted the disagreement between the tribe and the state regarding the jurisdiction at Geezer Beach had never been contested.

Get the Story:
Rich Landers: Jurisdictional dispute puts Roosevelt anglers in middle (The Spokesman Review 1/8)