Bonneville Pool sturgeon anglers will again see a split season for white sturgeon on the Columbia River in 2013. Fisheries managers from Oregon and Washington this week approved a white sturgeon retention season in Bonneville Pool consisting of winter and summer periods. The winter retention period will take place from Jan. 1 through Feb. 10, or until a harvest guideline of approximately 1,150 fish is achieved. The summer season is expected to begin in mid-June to harvest the balance of the 2,000 fish harvest guideline.
In The Dalles and John Day Pools, white sturgeon retention will open Jan. 1 and continue seven days per week until harvest guidelines are achieved as follows: The Dalles Pool – 300 fish; John Day Pool – 500 fish.
In the area from McNary Dam upstream to the Oregon-Washington border, white sturgeon retention is allowed Feb. 1 through July 31.
Under permanent rules, white sturgeon retention below Bonneville will open Jan. 1 seven days per week from the river mouth upstream to the Wauna power lines at river mile 40. From the Wauna power lines upstream to Bonneville Dam, the season will open Jan. 1 three days per week, Thursday through Saturday. Modifications to the 2013 retention seasons in the lower Columbia will be adopted by the Oregon and Washington Departments of Fish and Wildlife at a Joint State hearing scheduled for Jan. 30 at the Sheraton Airport Hotel in Portland.
The size limit is 38-54 inches fork length from the mouth of the Columbia upstream to The Dalles Dam and 43-54 inches fork length from The Dalles Dam upstream to the Oregon/Washington border.
Anglers are reminded that under Oregon fishing rules, the annual bag limit in 2013 will be one white sturgeon per year in all waters under state jurisdiction, down from the five fish annual bag limit in previous years. The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted the reduced bag limit at its Dec. 7 meeting in response to the continued decline of legal-size white sturgeon in the Columbia and Willamette rivers.
The lower Willamette River downstream of Willamette Falls (including Multnomah Channel and the Gilbert River) will remain closed to sturgeon retention on Jan. 1, Oregon fishery managers will consider a retention season for this area at the Joint State hearing on Jan. 30. Upstream of Willamette Falls, white sturgeon retention is open year round under permanent rules.
Image courtesy Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife