Recreational sturgeon fishery to open May 11 in Columbia River estuary
May 5, 2022
Fishery managers from Washington and Oregon recently announced an opportunity to catch and retain legal-size white sturgeon in the lower 40 miles of the Columbia River beginning May 11.
Staff with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife agreed to open the sturgeon fishery on Wednesdays and Saturdays from May 11 through June 4, from Buoy 10 at the mouth of the Columbia River upstream to the Wauna powerlines, which cross Puget Island near Cathlamet. Adjacent Washington tributaries will also be open for sturgeon fishing those days.
Anglers will also have an opportunity to catch and keep sturgeon on Memorial Day, Monday, May 30.
All sturgeon fishing -- including catch-and-release fishing -- closes at 2 p.m. on those days.
Anglers may retain only white sturgeon measuring 44 to 50 inches from the tip of their nose to the fork in their tail (“fork length”). Catch limits during the season are one legal-size white sturgeon per day and two legal-size fish per year. Only one single-point, barbless hook is allowed when fishing for sturgeon. Anglers may not fish for or retain green sturgeon, which is a federally protected species.
Estuary anglers will be allowed to harvest up to 1,920 of the estimated 100,014 legal-size sturgeon below Bonneville Dam.
“There are fewer legal-size fish to retain in this year’s fishery, but we worked hard to develop a season that offers meaningful opportunity for anglers to catch some of these remarkable fish while still keeping us within our conservation guidelines,” said Laura Heironimus, sturgeon manager with WDFW. “We continue to focus efforts on conserving mature spawning adults to help rebuild the sturgeon population in the Columbia River.”
For updates to this and other fisheries in the Columbia River and across the state, visit https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/ for all emergency rule changes.
Catch-and-release fishing for sturgeon is also open year-round on many stretches of the Columbia River, including the lower Columbia River on days closed to retention. Be sure to check permanent rules in the Sport Fishing Regulations pamphlet at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations.