Serving Franklin County, WA

Sturgeon season set for Lake Roosevelt

Fishery open from Sept. 16 to Nov. 30

SEVEN BAYS – Fishermen will begin hitting Lake Roosevelt this fall in hopes of catching a large fish species that has existed for more than 175 million years.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife will open a white sturgeon season from Sept. 16 through Nov. 30.

The species will be fair game along the entire length of Lake Roosevelt, from Grand Coulee Dam to the U.S.-Canada border. The fishery is also open on the Spokane River from the state Highway 25 bridge near Fort Spokane upstream to 400 feet below Little Falls Dam, on the Colville River from the mouth to Meyer Falls Dam and on the Kettle River upstream to the Barstow Bridge connecting.

Fishermen may catch one sturgeon daily; there is a two-fish annual limit.

White sturgeon must be at least 53 inches long, but no more than 63 inches, when measured from the tip of the snow to the middle of the tail fin fork, state Department of Fish and Wildlife officials said.

Two poles are allowed and fishermen must have a valid catch card, officials said. Night fishing is not allowed for white sturgeon.

Officials recommend fishermen use a minimum of 50-poud test line and a size 14/0 or smaller hook.

"The request to use heavier gear will ensure anglers hook and land sturgeon effectively, but also is protective of large wild adult sturgeon that, if hooked, should be played to hand quickly and released without being removed from the water," a statement released by the state agency said.

Fish that are not of legal harvest length should not be removed from the water, officials said.

The annual sturgeon season is later this year; it usually opens in June.

"Beginning this year, 2023, the Lake Roosevelt sturgeon fishery will occur in the fall to take advantage of cooler water temperatures which are less stressful on sturgeon which are caught but not harvested by anglers," state officials said.

The season was established to help manage the number of white sturgeon in the river.

Fish hatcheries here and in British Columbia released from 2,000 to 12,000 white sturgeon annually for a decade, from 2001-2010. More survived than expected, prompting an annual white sturgeon season.

 

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