Bonneville pool sturgeon retention resumes Monday

By Al Thomas, Columbian Outdoors Reporter



Sturgeon retention in the Bonneville pool of the Columbia River Gorge will reopen Monday and is scheduled to continue through March 9.

Washington and Oregon officials on Thursday approved the angling extension after 36 days of sturgeon retention in 2014 has resulted in a catch of only 181 fish, about one-third of the 550 to 600 allocated to the winter season.

Ron Roler, Columbia River policy coordinator for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said windy weather in January and cold temperatures in February reduced fishing effort in Bonneville pool.

Catch-per-day has averaged five sturgeon in 2014.

Roler said if the catch-per-day improves to the multi-year average of 17.8 the season total would be about 430. If the catch rates were the 2011-2012 average of 26.5 per day, the winter total would be 550 sturgeon.

Guy Norman, regional director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said he is not interested in extending the winter season beyond March 9, even if catches are low.

The states want about half the 1,100 annual catch guideline saved for a three- to five-day summer season in mid-June.

Sturgeon fishing in Bonneville pool generally is best in the west end of the reservoir in the winter, then improves throughout during the summer.