Split sturgeon season set for Bonneville pool

By Al Thomas, Columbian Outdoors Reporter

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Sturgeon retention in the Bonneville pool of the Columbia River Gorge will open Jan. 1 and continue through Jan. 19 or until about 500 to 600 fish are taken.

Washington and Oregon adopted the early season for the reservoir between Bonneville and The Dalles dams on Wednesday.

A harvest of 1,100 sturgeon will be split roughly equal between the winter and a season in June.

Guy Norman, regional director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said the January retention period might go a bit longer than Jan. 19, but the states do not intend to micro-manage precisely to half the catch guideline.

State biologists project a 30 percent increase in fishing effort in Bonneville pool in January due to no-retention rules in the lower Columbia in 2014.

Catches in winter in Bonneville pool are volatile. The states are figuring a catch of 24 per day to account for more fishing pressure.

John North of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said about 225 sturgeon per day typically are caught in June. Half the catch guideline is enough for about two days of summer fishing.

Sturgeon retention also opens Jan. 1 in The Dalles and John Day pools. Those continue until 300 legal-size fish are taken in The Dalles pool and 500 in John Day.

The Dalles pool reached its guideline on Nov. 12 in 2013. John Day pool reached its guideline on June 29.