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States approve 2021 sturgeon retention seasons below Bonneville Dam

CLACKAMAS, Ore. – Fishery managers from Oregon and Washington recently adopted two recreational white sturgeon retention fisheries for the lower Columbia River downstream of Bonneville Dam.

The first fishery will occur from the Wauna powerlines (at river mile 40) downstream to Buoy 10 at the Columbia River mouth, including Youngs Bay and adjacent Washington tributaries. During this fishery, anglers will be allowed to harvest legal-sized white sturgeon three days a week: Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, from May 10 through June 5. On all days open to sturgeon retention, fishing (including catch and release) is prohibited after 2 p.m.

The season will be managed to a harvest guideline of 2,960 fish, which could require in-season fishery modifications if catches are higher than anticipated.

The second fishery will occur from the Wauna powerlines upstream to Bonneville Dam, including the Cowlitz River in Washington. During this fishery, sturgeon retention will be allowed on September 11 and 18 (both Saturdays) with no additional time restrictions. The fishery will be managed to a harvest guideline of 1,230 fish.

For both fisheries, the daily bag limit is one legal-sized white sturgeon, with a statewide annual bag limit of two fish. Legal-size white sturgeon are those measuring a minimum of 44 inches and a maximum of 50 inches fork length, which is measured in a straight line under the fish from the tip of the nose to the fork in the caudal (tail) fin with the fish laying on a flat surface. Retention of green sturgeon is prohibited and single point barbless hooks are required when angling for sturgeon. All other permanent regulations remain in effect.

ODFW fishery managers did not recommend a sturgeon season for the lower Willamette River at this time but indicated a mid-June fishery as occurred in 2020 is being considered.

Catch and release fishing is open year-round except as noted above and during specific spawning sanctuary timeframes. Current regulations are available at: https://myodfw.com/recreation-report/fishing-report/columbia-zone.