THE FOLLOWING ARE PRESS RELEASES FROM THE OREGON AND WASHINGTON DEPARTMENTS OF FISH AND WILDLIFE, RESPECTIVELY
Fishery managers from Oregon and Washington today adopted a sturgeon retention season for the Lower Columbia River estuary below Wauna Powerlines as follows:
Season: Wednesdays and Saturdays from May 11 until June 4, plus Monday May 30 (Memorial Day)
Area: Mainstem Columbia from the Wauna Powerlines (near river mile 40) downstream to the mouth at Buoy 10, including Youngs Bay, and all adjacent Washington tributaries
Legal size: 44-inch minimum and 50-inch maximum fork length (measured in a straight line from the tip of the nose to the fork in the caudal fin (tail) with the fish laying on its side on a flat surface, with the tape measure/ruler positioned flat under the fish)
Bag limit: Daily one legal sturgeon, annual two legal sturgeon.
To allow for a longer season and a weekend fishing day in June, the season will start in mid-May (when catch rates are lower), and retention will be open only two days per week not three. On open retention days, all sturgeon fishing including catch-and-release will close at 2 p.m. With fewer days and a 2 p.m. closure, staff have time to review the fishery’s performance on a weekly basis and take action if necessary.
The season structure is intended to provide a balanced approach within a lower harvest guideline than recent years that still offers four weekend and four weekday fishing days, plus an extra day of retention on the Memorial Day holiday.
Fishery managers from Washington and Oregon today announced an opportunity to catch and retain legal-size white sturgeon in the lower 40 miles of the Columbia River beginning May 11.
Staff with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife agreed to open the sturgeon fishery on Wednesdays and Saturdays from May 11 through June 4, from Buoy 10 at the mouth of the Columbia River upstream to the Wauna powerlines, which cross Puget Island near Cathlamet. Adjacent Washington tributaries will also be open for sturgeon fishing those days.
Anglers will also have an opportunity to catch and keep sturgeon on Memorial Day, Monday, May 30.
All sturgeon fishing — including catch-and-release fishing — closes at 2 p.m. on those days.
Anglers may retain only white sturgeon measuring 44 to 50 inches from the tip of their nose to the fork in their tail (“fork length”). Catch limits during the season are one legal-size white sturgeon per day and two legal-size fish per year. Only one single-point, barbless hook is allowed when fishing for sturgeon. Anglers may not fish for or retain green sturgeon, which is a federally protected species.
Estuary anglers will be allowed to harvest up to 1,920 of the estimated 100,014 legal-size sturgeon below Bonneville Dam.
“There are fewer legal-size fish to retain in this year’s fishery, but we worked hard to develop a season that offers meaningful opportunity for anglers to catch some of these remarkable fish while still keeping us within our conservation guidelines,” said Laura Heironimus, sturgeon manager with WDFW. “We continue to focus efforts on conserving mature spawning adults to help rebuild the sturgeon population in the Columbia River.”
Catch-and-release fishing for sturgeon is also open year-round on many stretches of the Columbia River, including the lower Columbia River on days closed to retention. Be sure to check permanent rules in the Sport Fishing Regulations pamphlet at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations.