For the second year in a row, state managers will introduce a new sturgeon retention fishery in Eastern Washington.
Following on 2016’s season in two mid-Columbia pools, Lake Roosevelt is expected to open as soon as July.
“It’s an exciting opportunity that actually should extend eight, 10, potentially 12 years in length,” Steve Pozzanghera, WDFW’s Region 1 manager, told the Fish and Wildlife Commission last month. “It’s an exciting opportunity that we haven’t had for quite some time.”
According to the agency’s fish chief Chris Donley, it’s been at least 20 years since the last one. He says there are around 20,000 harvestable sturgeon on tap.
In a press release, he described them as “surplus fish from Washington and Canadian hatcheries that are not needed in the spawning population.”
WDFW says it’s working with the Colville and Spokane Tribes, whose reservations in part border the 150-mile-long reservoir and comanage its fisheries, and whose members have begun angling for the largest fish in the Columbia system.
Donley says that state seasons will be opened after catch sharing and monitoring plans with the tribes are figured out.
“We expect to open Roosevelt sturgeon fishing no later than the first of July,” he said, “so we plan to announce season dates and rules soon.”