Sturgeon Seasons in Washington Rivers 2-2-2012

    February 1, 2013
New harvest guidelines approved for sport sturgeon fisheries in the lower ColumbiaSturgeon Wilimette river Big and lower Willamette rivers will limit this year’s catch to 7,790 fish, similar to the number available for harvest last year. Previous actions had reduced the allowable catch by 38 percent in 2012, 30 percent in 2011, and 40 percent in 2010.
As in years past, 80 percent of the allowable catch will be allocated to the sport fishery and 20 percent to the commercial fishery. Under the new harvest rate, the portion of the catch available to recreational fisheries will be allocated as follows: 4,040 fish in the estuary, 2,020 above the Wauna powerlines, and 1,730 in the Willamette River.
To keep this year’s catch within the new harvest guideline, the sturgeon fishery will end five days earlier than last year in the estuary fishery below the Wauna powerlines.
The retention fishery in the area from the Wauna powerlines upriver to Bonneville Dam is typically split into a winter-through-mid-summer period and a fall period. Last year, the fall fishery was cancelled, because high catch rates from May through July took most of the fish available for harvest in that area. This year, managers agreed to shorten the winter-summer fishery by 18 days to reserve about half the catch for the fall fishery.
Fishing seasons approved for 2013 in the lower Columbia River are as follows:
• Buoy 10 to the Wauna powerlines: Retention of white sturgeon is allowed daily from Jan. 1 through April 30 and from May 11 through June 30. From Jan. 1 through April 30, sturgeon must measure between 38 inches and 54 inches (fork length) to be retained. From May 11 through the end of the season they must measure 41 inches to 54 inches (fork length) to be retained. Catch-and-release fishing is allowed on days when retention is prohibited.
• Wauna powerlines to Bonneville Dam: Retention of white sturgeon is allowed three days per week (Thursday through Saturday) from Jan. 1 through June 15 and from Oct. 19 through Dec. 31. Sturgeon must measure between 38 inches and 54 inches (fork length) to be retained. Catch-and-release fishing is allowed on days when retention is prohibited. Sturgeon fishing will be closed from May 1 to Aug. 31 in the sanctuary area from Bonneville Dam downstream nine miles to a line crossing the Columbia River from navigation marker 82 on the Oregon shore, westerly to the boundary marker on the Washington shore upstream of Fir Point.
• Pools above Bonneville Dam: Fishery managers reduced the harvest guideline for the Bonneville Pool from 2,000 fish to 1,100, because monitoring data indicate that the sturgeon population did not increase over the past three years as expected. Sturgeon retention is allowed through Feb. 10, with additional days possible in June. Retention fisheries in the two reservoirs between The Dalles and McNary dams are scheduled to proceed until their respective 300 fish and 500 fish guidelines are met.

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