Lower Columbia sturgeon fishery slated
Last updated 3/26/2021 at 11:24am
OLYMPIA — Starting May 10, anglers will have an opportunity to catch and retain legal-size white sturgeon in the lower 40 miles of the Columbia River.
Fishery managers from Washington and Oregon agreed Thursday to open the sturgeon fishery on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays through June 5, from the Wauna powerlines, which cross Puget Island near Cathlamet, downriver to Buoy 10 at the mouth of the Columbia River.
Adjacent Washington tributaries will also be open for sturgeon fishing those days.
Sturgeon fishing (including catch and release) closes at 2 p.m. each of those days.
Anglers may retain only white sturgeon measuring 44-50 inches from the tip of their nose to the fork in their tail..
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. Anglers may not fish for or retain green sturgeon, which is a federally protected species.
State Department of Fish and Wildlife sturgeon lead Laura Heironimus said anglers fishing in the estuary will be allowed to harvest up to 2,960 of the estimated 160,250 legal-size sturgeon below Bonneville Dam.
"In recent years we've noticed a decline in the juvenile portion of the population, which may impact future fishing potential," Heironimus said. "However, this year's opening is expected to keep us well within our conservation goals by limiting the catch to less than 4% of the legal-size population.
"This precautionary approach allows the mature spawning adult portion of the population — which has been steadily increasing over the past few years — to continue growing, and will support future recruitment goals to rebuild the population."
Fisheries managers also agreed Tuesday to open sturgeon retention this fall from the Wauna powerlines upstream to the Bonneville Dam on Saturday, Sept. 11 and Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021.
Sturgeon retention will be allowed on the Cowlitz River on the same days for the fall fishery.
That fishery is expected to be announced via emergency rule later this summer.