Proposed changes to sturgeon regulations

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is seeking public input on potential changes to recreational sturgeon fishing rules in several state waters, including the Columbia and Chehalis rivers.

The department is considering amending regulations to improve conservation efforts and increase the abundance and survival of mature spawning-size sturgeon.

WDFW is still in the information-gathering phase of this process, and is looking for comment on a variety of possible proposals.

WDFW and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife are also holding public meetings in May and June 2019 to present and discuss options for management recommendations.

Management recommendations include:

  • Removing night fishing for sturgeon on the Chehalis River. Under current rules, catch-and-release fishing for sturgeon is permitted 24 hours per day on a large stretch of the river, the only such 24-hour sturgeon fishery in the state.
  • Extending the dates of all sturgeon spawning sanctuaries in the Columbia River from Bonneville Dam to Priest Rapids Dam, and in the Snake River below Ice Harbor Dam, through Aug. 31. Most of these spawning sanctuaries are currently in effect from May 1 through July 31.
  • Extending the area of the spawning sanctuaries on the Columbia River below McNary and Priest Rapids dams. Under current regulations, the spawning sanctuary in John Day Reservoir extends from McNary Dam downstream to the Highway 82 (395) Bridge and the spawning sanctuary below Priest Rapids Dam extends from Priest Rapids Dam downstream 2.5 miles to the boundary marker on the river bank, 400 feet downstream from Priest Rapids Hatchery outlet channel (Jackson Creek).
  • Closing sturgeon retention fishing within McNary Reservoir, inclusive of the lower Snake River below Ice Harbor Dam and the Hanford Reach below Priest Rapids Dam, due to a lack of population-monitoring information.

You can provide comment using the form below. WDFW will use public feedback to help inform its final management recommendations. The public comment period is expected to remain open until Oct. 17, 2019.