OLYMPIA — The popular white sturgeon fishery opens Jan. 1 on select sections of the Columbia River upstream of Bonneville Dam, though the area between The Dalles Dam and John Day Dam — commonly known as The Dalles Pool — will only open three days per week, state fishery managers announced Thursday.
Fishing for legal-size white sturgeon opens New Year’s Day on Bonneville Pool (between Bonneville Dam and The Dalles Dam), The Dalles Pool, and John Day Pool (between John Day Dam and McNary Dam).
While Bonneville Pool and John Day Pool will be open daily, fishery managers from Washington and Oregon determined that opening The Dalles Pool only on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays should help prevent the fishery from exceeding its quota and ensure conservation goals are met.
The Dalles Pool closed to sturgeon retention just a few days after opening in 2021, due in part to the opener falling on a long holiday weekend with mild weather ideal for fishing.
There were 235 sturgeon caught in The Dalles Pool from Jan. 1-4, well over the 190-fish guideline.
The three-days-a-week opening should help prolong the season in The Dalles Pool and allow managers to monitor catch rates more closely, said Laura Heironimus, sturgeon lead with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
“We’re always looking for the best way to offer fishing opportunity while still meeting our conservation objectives,” Heironimus said. “We believe that this days-per-week approach will help meet those two goals, and keep the fishery within the quota.”
The Dalles Pool will remain open for catch-and-release fishing on days not open for retention.
The Bonneville Pool also quickly met its quota in 2021, but that fishery typically lasts longer as it has a larger quota, even with a seven-days-per-week fishing schedule.
Managers will still carefully monitor catch rates in all portions of the river.
In 2022, anglers will be able to keep 190 legal-size sturgeon in The Dalles Pool and 105 in the John Day Pool.
The 500-fish quota for Bonneville Pool will be under review in January, pending results from the 2021 stock assessment.
The three-days-a-week restriction on The Dalles Pool will remain in place through Jan. 26.
Washington and Oregon fishery managers expect to meet again on Jan. 25 to evaluate the season and discuss any additional management actions.
Anglers should consult the 2021-22 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations for permanent regulations, and keep an eye out for any emergency rule updates — including additional modifications or potential closures on these pools — at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/