Poaching leads to fishing closure on Gilbert River
CLACKAMAS, Ore. — The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has adopted a year-round ban on sturgeon fishing in the Gilbert River as well as additional seasonal angling closures.
Under temporary rules that take effect Monday, April 24, the Gilbert River closes to sturgeon fishing, including catch-and-release, year around, and closes to fishing for all species April 24-June 15 and Oct. 1-Dec. 31. Fishery managers intend to make this closure permanent starting in 2018.
The closure is primarily a conservation measure designed to protect sturgeon on the Gilbert River, which have been targeted by poachers, according to Tucker Jones, ODFW’s Ocean Salmon and Columbia River Program manager.
“Sturgeon concentrations in the Gilbert River have unfortunately resulted in an unacceptable level of illegal actions,” said Jones. “It’s regrettable that the actions of these bad actors are taking opportunity away from the law abiding public.”
The new rules apply from the Gilbert River fishing pier, near the confluence with Multnomah Channel, upstream approximately four miles to Sturgeon Lake. Consistent with regulations for the lower Willamette and Columbia rivers, it has been closed to retention of sturgeon since 2014, although catch-and-release fishing was allowed.
For several years, Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife officers have documented frequent illegal activities, including sturgeon poaching along the Gilbert River. Troopers conducted surveillance in this area and apprehended poachers hiding sturgeon in brush, backpacks and vehicles, fishing at night, and other crimes.
The Big Eddy fishing pier, a disabled angler platform located at the headwaters of the river near Sturgeon Lake, will be included in the closure. Anglers with ODFW disabled anglers permits are advised to use the Gilbert River fishing pier at the mouth of the river instead.
For more information, please visit ODFW’s online Willamette Zone Sport Fishing Regulation Update Page.