OLYMPIA -- Recreational anglers must release sturgeon caught in the
Columbia River and its tributaries from Bonneville Dam upstream to The Dalles Dam as
of April 5, fish managers in Washington and Oregon announced today.
Officials estimate the guideline quota of 1,520 sturgeon in the Bonneville
Reservoir will be caught by April 5. Anglers may continue to fish for sturgeon in the
reservoir, but all sturgeon must be released unharmed immediately.
The Columbia and its tributaries from The Dalles Dam upstream to McNary Dam
will remain open to sturgeon fishing until further notice.
Harvest guidelines for sturgeon were set in 1991 for recreational and treaty
Indian commercial fisheries to prevent the over-harvest of fish trapped between
Bonneville and McNary dams. The Washington and Oregon departments of Fish and
Wildlife in 1995 adopted permanent regulations that allow sturgeon retention only
during the first half of each year to keep the sport harvest within the guidelines.
Increased fishing efforts and improved catch rates, especially in the Bonneville
Reservoir, resulted in early closures during the last three years.
Department biologists see signs that sturgeon populations are increasing and
this year the sport harvest guideline for Bonneville reservoir was increased to 1,520
sturgeon from the previous guideline of 1,350. The 1997 guidelines for the Dalles
Reservoir was increased to 200 sturgeon from 100. The John Day Reservoir guideline
was increased to 560 sturgeon from 100.