THE FOLLOWING ARE PRESS RELEASES FROM THE WASHINGTON AND OREGON DEPARTMENTS OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
OLYMPIA – A number of rule changes affecting Washington sturgeon fisheries went into effect beginning Monday, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced.
The changes, approved by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission at its December meeting in Bellingham, are meant to clarify existing regulations and modify others to help meet conservation objectives, said Laura Heironimus, WDFW’s Columbia River smelt, sturgeon, and lamprey lead.
“Some of these changes are intended to specifically help conserve and improve sturgeon stocks, while others are meant to clarify regulations under WDFW’s efforts to simplify fishing regulations statewide,” Heironimus said.
Changes that went into effect Monday include:
Closing Columbia River sturgeon spawning sanctuaries upstream of Bonneville Dam to sturgeon fishing from May 1 to Aug. 31. Previously, some sanctuaries reopened on Aug. 1; this change was requested to minimize handling stress on mature female sturgeon after spawning.
Expanding the area of sturgeon sanctuaries in John Day Reservoir (below McNary Dam) and in the Hanford Reach (below Priest Rapids Dam).
Shifting retention fisheries upstream of McNary Dam to catch-and-release only, as a precautionary conservation measure.
Closing night fishing for sturgeon on the Chehalis River, aligning it with other rules statewide. This was previously the only area open to night fishing for sturgeon in Washington.
Defining oversize sturgeon as a fish larger than 55 inches in fork length, which may not be removed in part or totally from the water unless otherwise allowed by emergency rule.
Clarification and simplification of other catch-and-release and statewide regulations.
The new rules were adopted following an extensive public comment period, including several in-person public meetings held throughout the state in 2019.
CLACKAMAS, Ore. – The recreational sturgeon season in the John Day Pool of the Columbia River (between John Day Dam to McNary Dam) and adjacent tributaries will close effective 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, March 11, under rules announced today by fishery managers from Oregon and Washington.
The states decided to close this fishery based on recent harvest data that indicated recreational fishermen have achieved their allowable harvest of 105 fish.
Sturgeon retention previously closed in Bonneville and The Dalles pools when those respective harvest guidelines were met.
Catch and release fishing for sturgeon continues to be allowed in all three areas, except in designated sturgeon spawning sanctuaries defined in the 2020 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations.