Fishery managers from Oregon and Washington today set the summer retention sturgeon fishing seasons and adopted a new sturgeon spawning sanctuary in the Columbia River behind Bonneville Dam.
Retention of legal-sized sturgeon will be allowed on June 13-14 and June 20-21 on the Columbia River between Bonneville and The Dalles dams. The seasons were adopted during a joint state hearing of the Oregon and Washington departments of fish and wildlife.
The states also adopted a new sturgeon spawning sanctuary in Bonneville reservoir, extending from The Dalles Dam downstream 1.8 miles. All angling for sturgeon will be prohibited in the sanctuary from May 1-July 31. The lower boundary of the sanctuary extends from the upper end of the boat ramp at the Port of The Dalles on the Oregon side of the Columbia perpendicular across the Columbia to a marker on the Washington shore. Previously, catch-and-release sturgeon fishing was allowed in this area. However, fishery managers decided the restriction was appropriate based on evidence this is prime spawning habitat and that handling sturgeon during the May-July period could adversely impact their spawning success. The new sanctuary will become a part of ODFW’s permanent fishing rules.
“Given our precautionary approach to managing sturgeon fisheries I believe this is the right balance between conservation and fishing opportunity,” said Tony Nigro, manager of ODFW’s Ocean Salmon and Columbia River Program. Similar protective sanctuaries are already in place on the Columbia below Bonneville, John Day, and McNary dams and on the Willamette River below Willamette Falls.
Retention sturgeon fisheries are currently under way and will continue seven days a week in The Dalles and John Day reservoirs until harvest guidelines of 300 and 500 sturgeon, respectively, are achieved.
The bag limit in all three areas is one sturgeon per day and two for the year. Sturgeon must be between 38 and 54 inches fork length to be retained in Bonneville Reservoir and 43-54 inches fork length upstream of The Dalles Dam.
Image courtesy Rick Swart/Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife