The tribal leadership of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) met and made the difficult decision to postpone the opening day of fishing season in Cherokee until Saturday, April 11. Steps are being taken to protect both local tribal members and the general public during this time due to the COVID-19 threat. Stocking of enterprise waters will not take place during this time. Any future extensions to keep the enterprise waters closed will be posted on www.fishcherokee.com and Facebook/fishcherokee for easy access.
The extended closure of the fishing season in enterprise waters will not be enforced on EBCI tribal members, their spouses, or EBCI first descendants. Spouses of EBCI tribal members and EBCI first descendants must obtain a special use fishing permit from the Cherokee Fisheries & Wildlife Management office in order to fish enterprise waters. All legal fishing methods apply.
EBCI Natural Resources officials noted, “We are diligently working with our permit provider to create a mechanism for refunds to those persons who paid the Opening Day Fish Tournament registration price of $15. Alternate methods may also be applied. Fishing permits purchased for the dates of March 28 through April 11, 2020 may be used for one future date during the 2020 fishing season once it reopens.”
They continued, “Natural Resources Enforcement Officers may check permits to verify validity of these permits upon restored fishing privileges in enterprise waters. Re-prints of permits dated March 28 through April 11 will not be authorized, so please hold on to your printed copy. Updates will be posted on our website and Facebook page as they occur. North Carolina schools are currently closed which has created staff shortages within our office. We ask that you seek information on our website and Facebook page as the fastest way to obtain updated information regarding the Cherokee fishing program. The numerous calls, emails and text messages (of which there are many) we are receiving may not be answered individually.”
This authority is vested under Cherokee Code Chapter 166, Article II, the Declaration of State of Emergency enacted on March 13, 2020, and Executive Order #1 (2020).
“Thank you for your understanding and patience during this time of strife. We greatly appreciate all of you and look forward to seeing you, hopefully soon!”
– EBCI Fisheries & Wildlife Management release