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January 16, 2004
Contact: Brad James, (360) 906-6716

Columbia River sturgeon angling rules set for rest of year

OLYMPIA - Washington and Oregon fish managers set rules yesterday for the remainder of this year's sturgeon sport fishery in the Columbia River .

Rules differ for angling above and below the Wauna powerline crossing from Cathlamet to Oregon, at river mile 40 near Puget Island.

Above the Wauna power lines upstream to Bonneville Dam, state fish managers agreed to allow three-day-per-week sturgeon retention from Feb. 1-July 31 and from Oct. 1-Dec. 31, with catch-and-release fishing only in August and September.

Specifically, anglers above the Wauna powerlines will be allowed to:

  • Continue to retain sturgeon seven days a week through Jan. 31, under current season rules.

  • Retain sturgeon three days a week (Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays only) from Feb. 1 through July 31.

  • Pursue catch-and-release fishing only (with retention closed) from Aug.1 through Sept. 30.

  • Retain sturgeon three days a week (Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays) from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31.

  • During retention periods, sturgeon that are kept must measure 42 to 60 inches.

Below the Wauna powerlines, downstream to the mouth of the Columbia River, including tributaries, anglers are allowed to:

  • Retain sturgeon seven days a week through April 30, and again from May 15-July 23. Sturgeon kept through April 30 must measure 42 to 60 inches, however managers raised the minimum-size limit for fish kept below the Wauna powerlines from 42 inches to 45 inches, effective May 15.

  • Pursue catch-and-release fishing only from May 1-14 and July 24-Dec. 31.

During retention periods, fishers are limited to one sturgeon per day. In Washington waters, anglers face an annual limit of 10 sturgeon per year through March 31; beginning April 1 that annual limit drops to five fish. Oregon imposed a five-sturgeon annual limit at the beginning of this year.

The rules adopted yesterday do not apply to the oversize-sturgeon fishery near Bonneville Dam. That fishery is expected to be set in February by the fish and wildlife commissions for the two states.