Poaching Hotline Tip Busts Sturgeon Scofflaws On Scappoose Bay


OSP Fish & Wildlife Troopers Bernardi and Morgan out of our St Helens Office received a TIP (Turn in Poachers) from two subjects angling in Scappoose Bay.  The Tip reported that there were anglers who had caught a sturgeon and did not release it, as required by law. Currently, sturgeon angling is restricted to catch and release only in that area and recently large numbers of sturgeon have been present in Scappoose Bay. 


The Troopers surveilled the anglers moored in a boat at Scappoose Bay Marina, over a two-day period, and witnessed suspicious behavior. The Troopers observed the anglers pull a rope from the water that appeared to have a sturgeon attached. Troopers made contact with the anglers and found none of the three men had purchased an angling license or combined angling harvest card and all were angling with barbed hooks, which is prohibited for sturgeon. The anglers initially denied being in possession of any fish, but a consent search uncovered five unlawfully retained sturgeon tied to three ropes in the water. 

One angler admitted to retaining all the fish and was cited and released for: Take/Possession of Oversized White Sturgeon – C Felony, and misdemeanor crimes of Take/Possession of White Sturgeon, No Resident Angling License and Angling Prohibited Method-Barbed Hooks. The other two anglers were cited and released for the misdemeanor crimes of No Resident Angling License and No Combined Angling Tag.  All five sturgeon were released back into the bay unharmed. Two rods with reels and a barbed hook were seized as evidence. 

The Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife states that the overall abundance of White Sturgeon is only a fraction of what it was 150 years ago, and since sturgeon are a long-lived, slow-growing, and late-maturing species, recovery efforts can be quite prolonged.  Because they already face numerous ecological, environmental, and other human-caused challenges on the road to recovery—poaching is a huge issue. 

Current recreational retention and catch-and-release White Sturgeon fisheries are estimated to generate millions of dollars annually towards Oregon’s economy.  Fisheries have been restricted or closed in the past during periods of low abundance.  Poaching of White Sturgeon lessens the viability of the population and threatens to harm all Oregonians if anglers are no longer able to enjoy this treasured resource. 

The Oregon State Police, the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife, the Oregon Hunters Association have historically teamed up to try to stop poaching in Oregon.   The Oregon Hunters Association TIP rewards program offers preference points or cash rewards for information leading to an arrest or issuance of a citation for the unlawful take/possession or waste of Bighorn Sheep, Rocky Mountain Goat, Moose, Elk, Deer, Antelope, Bear, Cougar, Wolf, Upland Birds, Waterfowl, Furbearers, Game Fish and Shellfish. Cash rewards can also be awarded for turning in people who destroy habitat, illegally obtain licenses/tags, and for the unlawful lending/borrowing of big game tags.

To report poaching or any natural resource crime, we ask that you use the Turn in Poachers (TIP) line at 1-800-452-7888, *OSP (*677), or email at TIP@osp.oregon.gov