Laura Heironimus, 360-906-6716
OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has scheduled an additional public meeting in Montesano to discuss possible changes to sturgeon regulations, including a night closure on the Chehalis River.
The first meeting was held in The Dalles, Oregon on May 22. Upcoming meetings scheduled by WDFW and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will be held at the following locations and times:
- Kennewick: 6 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, June 11, at the Benton PUD building, 2721 W. 10th Ave., Kennewick.
- Hermiston, Oregon: 6 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, June 12, at the Hermiston Community Center, 415 S. Hwy 395, Hermiston.
- Montesano: 6 to 8 p.m., Thursday, June 13, at the WDFW Region 6 office, 48 Devonshire Rd., Montesano.
In addition to these meetings, the public can now provide comments online through WDFW’s website.
Discussion topics and 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.
- 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.
The department will use feedback from the public to inform its final management recommendations. Fish managers expect to brief the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission in October on the resulting proposed regulations.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish, wildlife and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing and hunting opportunities.