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August 25, 1997
Contact: Chuck Bolland, (360) 902-2255

Columbia River sturgeon release required

OLYMPIA -- All sturgeon caught in the Columbia River and its tributaries from John Day Dam upstream to McNary Dam must be released beginning Sept. 2.

State resource managers from both Washington and Oregon estimate that the allowable catch of 560 sturgeon from the reservoir will be taken by that date. Recreational anglers may continue to fish for sturgeon in the reservoir, but they must be released unharmed. Fishing for sturgeon in other areas of the Columbia River may continue. Seasons and regulations are in the department's 1997 Fishing in Washington pamphlet. All sturgeon caught in the Bonneville and The Dalles reservoirs must be released as well.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) biologists are seeing signs that sturgeon populations are recovering in parts of the Columbia River. This year the recreational quota for sturgeon in John Day reservoir was increased to 560 fish from 100. The 1997 quota for The Dalles reservoir was increased to 200 sturgeon from 100. The quota for Bonneville reservoir this year was 1,520 fish, up from 1,350 last year.

The 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.