Sturgeon fishing extended in The Dalles Pool, closing in Bonneville Pool

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WDFW Region 5 office, 360-696-6211
Public Affairs contact: Ben Anderson, 360-902-0045

OLYMPIA – Fishery managers from Washington and Oregon agreed Tuesday to extend the recreational white sturgeon fishery on the stretch of Columbia River between The Dalles Dam and John Day Dam – commonly known as The Dalles Pool – through the end of February.

Meanwhile, the sturgeon fishery in Bonneville Pool (between Bonneville Dam and The Dalles Dam) will close beginning Jan. 30.

The Dalles Pool, Bonneville Pool, and John Day Pool (between John Day Dam and McNary Dam) all opened to retention fishing for white sturgeon on Jan. 1. While Bonneville Pool and John Day Pool were open daily, The Dalles Pool opened on a three-days-per-week schedule in an effort to extend the fishery after the quota was quickly met in 2021.

As of Jan. 23, 471 legal-sized sturgeon had been retained from the 675-fish guideline in Bonneville Pool, representing about 70 percent of the total.

Catch rates at Bonneville Pool had picked up recently, according to Laura Heironimus, sturgeon lead with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

“The weather contributed to a slow start to the fishery this year, but catch rates have increased in the second half of the month,” Heironimus said. “Even with this year’s increase in the guideline from 500 fish to 675 fish, we estimate that the guideline will likely be met by early next week, so we’re announcing this closure now to ensure we can meet our conservation goals.”

The Bonneville Pool fishery will close at 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 29.

In The Dalles Pool, 60 legal-sized sturgeon had been retained from the 190-fish guideline, about 32 percent of the total. That fishery is expected to remain open on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays from Jan. 26-Feb. 28, or until the guideline is met.

“With additional fish remaining in the guideline, we feel comfortable extending this fishery for now,” Heironimus said. “We’ll be monitoring carefully in case shifting fishing pressure accelerates the catch rate in the pool, and take additional management actions if needed.”

John Day Pool also remains open daily, with just 14 legal-size sturgeon harvested from the 105-fish guideline as of Jan. 23. That’s about 13 percent of the allowable catch there.

Bonneville Pool will remain open for catch-and-release fishing following the closure, and The Dalles Pool will remain open for catch-and-release fishing on days not open for retention. Fishing for sturgeon at night is prohibited.

Anglers should consult the 2021-22 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations for permanent regulations, and keep an eye out for any emergency rule updates – including additional modifications or potential closures on these pools – at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife works to preserve, protect, and perpetuate fish, wildlife and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish, wildlife, and recreational and commercial opportunities.

Individuals who need to receive this information in an alternative format, language, or who need reasonable accommodations to participate in WDFW-sponsored public meetings or other activities may contact the Title VI/ADA Compliance Coordinator by phone at 360-902-2349, TTY (711), or email (Title6@dfw.wa.gov). For more information, see https://wdfw.wa.gov/accessibility/requests-accommodation.