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Dec. 2, 2021

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Fishing report: Sturgeon fishing to open May 10 in Columbia River estuary

The Columbian
Published:

Anglers will have an opportunity to catch and retain legal-size white sturgeon in the lower 40 miles of the Columbia River starting May 10.

Fishery managers from Washington and Oregon agreed last week to open the sturgeon fishery on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays through June 5 from the Wauna powerlines, which cross Puget Island near Cathlamet, downriver to Buoy 10 at the mouth of the Columbia River. Adjacent Washington tributaries will also be open for sturgeon fishing those days.

All sturgeon fishing (including catch and release) closes at 2 p.m. each of those days.

Anglers may retain only white sturgeon measuring 44 to 50 inches from the tip of their nose to the fork in their tail (“fork length”). Catch limits during the season are one legal-size white sturgeon per day and two legal-size fish per year. Only one single-point, barbless hook is allowed when fishing for sturgeon. Anglers may not fish for or retain green sturgeon, which is a federally protected species.

Laura Heironimus, sturgeon lead with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said anglers fishing in the estuary will be allowed to harvest up to 2,960 of the estimated 160,250 legal-size sturgeon below Bonneville Dam.

“In recent years we’ve noticed a decline in the juvenile portion of the population, which may impact future fishing potential,” Heironimus said in a news release. “However, this year’s opening is expected to keep us well within our conservation goals by limiting the catch to less than 4 percent of the legal-size population.

“This precautionary approach allows the mature spawning adult portion of the population – which has been steadily increasing over the past few years – to continue growing, and will support future recruitment goals to rebuild the population.”

Managers also agreed to open sturgeon retention this fall from the Wauna powerlines upstream to the Bonneville Dam on Sept. 11 and Sept. 18, 2021. Sturgeon retention will be allowed on the Cowlitz River on the same days for the fall fishery.

That fishery is expected to be announced via emergency rule later this summer. Check online at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/ for all emergency rule changes.

Catch-and-release fishing for sturgeon remains open year-round on many stretches of the Columbia River, including the lower Columbia River on days closed to retention. Be sure to check permanent rules in the Sport Fishing Regulations pamphlet at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations.

Fishing Reports

Fishing reports for waters in southwest Washington, including the Columbia River and tributaries as reported to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife on March 22.

Always check the WDFW website at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing for the latest fishing rules and regulations as seasons can change or close quickly if necessary.

Lower Columbia mainstem from Bonneville to Astoria – 240 salmonid boats and 69 Washington bank rods were tallied during the March 21 effort count.

SALMON/STEELHEAD

Columbia River mainstem

Bonneville – No report.

Camas/Washougal – No report.

Interstate 5 area – Three boats/five rods had no catch.

Vancouver – 26 bank anglers had no catch; 29 boats/60 rods released one jack.

Woodland – 22 bank anglers had no catch; 18 boats/47 rods had no catch.

Kalama – 14 bank anglers had no catch; 27 boats/65 rods kept one Chinook.

Cowlitz – Five boats/nine rods had no catch.

Longview – 103 bank anglers kept two steelhead and released one jack and three steelhead; 70 boats/143 rods kept three Chinook, one steelhead and released one Chinook and one steelhead.

Cathlamet (Sec. 9) – Nine bank anglers had no catch; 12 boats/28 rods kept two Chinook and released two Chinook and one steelhead.

Cathlamet (Sec. 10) – Four bank anglers had no catch; 18 boats/33 rods kept two Chinook.

Bonneville Pool – No report.

The Dalles Pool – No report.

John Day Pool – No report.

Sturgeon: Columbia River mainstem

Kalama – One boat/six rods had no catch.

WALLEYE

Columbia River mainstem

Bonneville Pool – No report.

The Dalles Pool – No report.

John Day Pool – Five bank anglers kept one walleye; 72 boats/133 rods kept 50 walleye and released 59 walleye.

BASS

Columbia River mainstem

John Day Pool – 10 boats/19 rods kept one bass and released 39 bass.

SALMON/STEELHEAD

Columbia River tributaries

Cowlitz River at Interstate-5 Bridge downstream – 84 bank rods kept eight steelhead and released one Chinook and one steelhead; two boats/three rods had no catch.

Above Interstate-5 Bridge – 24 bank rods kept one steelhead; 37 boats/134 rods kept 78 steelhead and released one steelhead.

Kalama River – No report.

Lewis River – No report.

Recent trout plants

Kress Lake, March 18 – 2,000 brown, 2.8 fish per pound from Mossyrock Hatchery.

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