Lower Columbia River to open for two Saturdays of sturgeon fishing in September

Columbia River

Photo Credit: Courtesy of WDFW

by WA Department of Fish & Wildlife Staff

OLYMPIA – Anglers will be able to catch and keep white sturgeon on a portion of the lower Columbia River during two upcoming Saturdays in September, state fishery managers announced today.

Managers from Washington and Oregon agreed to open the mainstem Columbia River for sturgeon retention on Sept. 12 and 19, from the Wauna powerlines upstream to Bonneville Dam. The sturgeon fishery will also be open on the Cowlitz River on the same days.

"We know people have been waiting for an opportunity to keep some of these incredible fish, and this is a great time of year to get out on the river," said Laura Heironimus, Columbia River sturgeon lead with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). "We'll be watching catch numbers closely to make sure we're staying within conservation objectives, but our data indicates the population is again strong enough to support a limited fishery this year."

Much of the lower Columbia River is currently scheduled to be closed to salmon and steelhead fishing in mid-September, which means things should be less crowded for sturgeon anglers during retention days.

Anglers may retain only white sturgeon with a fork length between 44 inches minimum to 50 inches maximum. Fork length is measured from the tip of the nose to the fork in the tail.

The daily white sturgeon limit is one fish, with an annual maximum limit of two fish. Retention of green sturgeon is prohibited. Only one single-point barbless hook and bait is allowed when fishing for sturgeon.

Catch-and-release fishing for white sturgeon remains open on non-retention days. Anglers may also continue catch-and-release fishing even after the annual limit has been met.

Be sure to check the 2020-21 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations for additional permanent rule information, and see emergency rule updates at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/ for the latest 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, hunting, and other recreation opportunities.