WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
NEWS RELEASE
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

June 20, 2003
Contact: Brad James, (360) 906-6716

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Sturgeon retention to close June 28, 2003 in Columbia River estuary

Vancouver, Wash.-Beginning June 28, anglers will be required to release all sturgeon caught in the Columbia River and its tributaries downstream from the Wauna power lines near Cathlamet, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has announced.

The retention closure is taking effect nearly two weeks before the projected July 10 fishing closure because the sport harvest guideline of 18,000 fish is expected to be reached early.

"Sturgeon fishing has been excellent, and catch rates have been greater than projected," said Brad James, WDFW regional fish biologist.

A record number of angler trips are expected this year in the Columbia River estuary, James said, adding that over 23,000 had been logged in the first 19 days of June. With trips tallying more than 1,000 per day and eight days remaining in the season, the all-time record for June of 27,000 estuary angler trips could easily be topped, he added.

The retention closure will remain in effect in the lower Columbia through Sept. 30, with sturgeon retention opening again there beginning Oct. 1. Catch-and-release fishing is allowed during the non-retention period.

Meanwhile, anglers will be allowed to keep sturgeon caught in the area of the river from the Wauna power lines upstream to Bonneville Dam beginning July 1.