2009 Lower Columbia
Sturgeon season reopened for retention Oct. 1, 2009
in the Willamette River and Columbia River from Wauna power lines to
Bonneville Dam. Reports show some good catches of keepers and shakers, with
the Portland harbor downstream to Multnomah Channel providing good
opportunities as well.
The 2009 sport
fishery for Columbia River white sturgeon will open New Year's Day under
rules similar to those in effect this year, but with somewhat tighter catch
limits below Bonneville Dam.
To compensate for
high harvest levels during this year's fishery, catch limits will be 2,000
fish lower in the lower
and adjoining tributaries in 2009 under fishing rules adopted last week by
fishery managers from
Washington and Oregon.
adjustment is in the area from the Wauna powerlines near Cathlamet upstream
to Bonneville Dam, where anglers will be limited to 11,268 legal-size white
sturgeon. This year's catch was estimated at 13,919 fish - 1,532 fish above
the number allotted for that area.
To meet this year's
lower guideline, anglers fishing that stretch of the Columbia River in 2009
will be allowed to retain white sturgeon only three days a week, rather than
"Three days of
retention fishing was the norm for those waters until two years ago," said
Brad James, a fish biologist for the Washington Department of Fish and
Wildlife (WDFW). "Also, while the new harvest guideline above the Wauna
powerlines will be lower next year, it will still be higher than the number
of sturgeon caught by anglers in 2006."
fishery managers set a harvest level for 2009 of 15,529 white sturgeon for
waters extending 40 miles from the Wauna powerlines to Buoy 10 at the mouth
of the Columbia River. That allocation is up from last year, but slightly
below the three-year average guideline of 16,000 fish.
Next year's harvest
guidelines for both areas of the lower Columbia River are designed to bring
the catch into line during the fourth year of a sturgeon-management
agreement between Washington and Oregon, James said. The new catch limits
were adopted following a decision by the fish and wildlife commissions of
both states to extend the management agreement for 2006-08 through 2009.
James said anglers
who fish for sturgeon in the new year should be aware of a new rule adopted
by the two state commissions that will base official size limits for white
sturgeon on "fork length" measurements, rather than the total length of the
fish. The new size limits, which take effect Jan. 1, are based on the
distance from the tip of a sturgeon's nose to the fork in its tail, making
it easier to measure thrashing fish.
As in previous years,
anglers in all areas will be limited to one legal-sized white sturgeon per
day and five per year. Anglers must release all green sturgeon, a separate
species listed for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act.
established for the 2009 white sturgeon sport fishery on the Columbia River
and adjacent tributaries are as follows:
Buoy 10 to the
Fishing for retention of white sturgeon is open seven days per week from
Jan. 1 to April 30, from May 9 to June 28, and from July 2-5 or until the
harvest guideline is reached. From Jan. 1 to April 30, the fork length of
retained sturgeon must be a minimum of 38 inches and a maximum of 54
inches. From May 9 to June 28 and from July 2-5, the fork length of
retained sturgeon must be a minimum of 41 inches and a maximum of 54
inches. Catch-and-release fishing is allowed May 1-8, June 29 to July 1,
and July 6 to Dec. 31.
to Bonneville Dam:
Fishing for retention of white sturgeon is open three days per week
(Thursday through Saturday) Jan. 1 through July 31 and Oct. 1 through Dec.
31. The fork length of retained sturgeon must be a minimum of 38 inches
and a maximum of 54 inches. Catch-and-release fishing is allowed Aug. 1
through Sept. 30 and on days when retention is prohibited. All fishing
for sturgeon will be closed from May through July in the sturgeon spawning
sanctuary downriver from Bonneville Dam 5.5 miles to Navigation Marker 85.
Fishing for retention of white sturgeon opens seven days per week Jan. 1
until individual catch guidelines are met in the Bonneville, The Dalles
and John Day pools. In the Bonneville Pool, the fork length of retained
sturgeon must be a minimum of 38 inches and a maximum of 54 inches. In
The Dalles and John Day pools, the fork length of retained sturgeon must
be a minimum of 43 inches and a maximum of 54 inches. Catch-and-release
fishing is allowed after the guidelines are met in all three areas above
Bonneville Dam. All fishing will be closed from May through July in two
spawning sanctuaries located below John Day Dam downstream 2.4 miles and
from McNary Dam downstream 1.5 miles.
Catch guidelines for
areas above Bonneville Dam to McNary Dam will be evaluated in January, but
are likely to remain the same as this year for Bonneville Pool and for John
Day Pool. The population in The Dalles Pool appears to be on the rebound
and the population may be healthy enough to allow managers to relax the
guideline for 2009, James said.
The fishing periods
will be reassessed in June based on available catch data, and may be
modified as needed James said. Any changes will be posted on the WDFW
) and distributed to the news media.
River Sturgeon Sport Season Above Wauna
Allow retention of white sturgeon only on Thursdays, Fridays, and
Saturdays from January 1 through July 31 and from October 1 through December
31. Sturgeon may be caught and released, but not retained, Sundays through
Wednesdays and during August and September.
Only white sturgeon
between 38-inches fork length and 54-inches fork length may be
retained per permanent rule.
Jan. 1 through Jul. 31 and Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, 2009
The Columbia River and tributaries from the Wauna powerlines near
Cathlamet upstream to Bonneville Dam.
The regulation is consistent with Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission
guidance for 2009 Columbia River sturgeon management. The dates for
retention of white sturgeon are based on the 2009 seasons adopted at the
joint state hearing on December 18, 2008. The Washington Fish and Wildlife
Commission had previously adopted the 38-inch fork length minimum
size limit and the 54-inch fork length maximum size limit on
February 1, 2008,
January 1, 2009.
Catch and release fishing is allowed seven days per week except the area
from Bonneville Dam downstream to Navigation Marker 85 is closed to all
fishing for sturgeon from May 1-July 31.
retention on the Columbia River and tributaries below the Wauna powerlines
reopens to retention seven days per week from January 1 through April 30 per
permanent regulation. The new 38-inch to 54-inch fork length size
limits also apply to this area. The area below Wauna is scheduled to close
to retention May 1 through May 8, then reopen to retention seven days per
week for the periods May 9 through June 24 and July 2-5. The minimum size
limit for this area is scheduled to switch to 41-inches fork length May 9.
Retention of green sturgeon is prohibited.
696-6211. For latest
information press *1010.
These rules are
subject to inseason changes. Please check with the Oregon or Washington
Departments of Fish and Wildlife for the latest updates.
For more information or to book a sturgeon fishing trip please email
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