Salem, OR – For a second straight year the traditional Jan. 1 opener for white sturgeon retention on the lower Willamette River, including Multnomah Channel and the Gilbert River, will be delayed because of an anticipated cut in the harvest quota.

ODFW fishery managers will consult with the Fish and Wildlife Commission at the Jan. 6 meeting regarding 2012 sturgeon management. Based on Commission guidance, dates for the retention season in the lower Willamette will be announced around mid-January.

According to John North, ODFW Columbia River fisheries manager, when the retention season does open in February it’s likely to be even shorter than the 12 day season in 2011.

“With the reduced catch quota and more anglers targeting Willamette River sturgeon, I expect the retention season to last just a couple of weekends,” he said. “However, the lower Willamette and other sturgeon fisheries are currently open to catch-and-release fishing all year.”

More details about the harvest quota and possible season structures on the lower Willamette will be available after the first of the year.

In the meantime, the Columbia River below Bonneville Dam and the reservoirs between Bonneville and McNary dams will open to white sturgeon retention on Jan. 1 under permanent rules. The seasons below the Wauna power lines and in the three pools above Bonneville Dam will initially be open seven days a week while the area from Wauna upstream to Bonneville Dam will be open three days a week (Thursday – Sunday). Final 2012 retention seasons for mainstem fisheries will be discussed and set at a Joint State Hearing on Jan. 26.

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