Lake Roosevelt white sturgeon fishery

Roosevelt Lake - Electric City, WA

by WA Department of Fish & Wildlife Staff

Action: Opens a harvest fishery for white sturgeon in Lake Roosevelt.

Effective date: Open 7 days per week beginning June 18, 2022, until further notice.

Species affected: White Sturgeon

Location: From Grand Coulee Dam to China Bend Boat Ramp (including the Spokane River from Highway 25 Bridge upstream to 400’ below Little Falls Dam, Colville River upstream to Meyers Falls Dam and the Kettle River upstream to Barstow Bridge).

Fishery Rules: Daily Limit 1 sturgeon. Annual Limit 2 sturgeon (applies statewide). It is legal to retain sturgeon between 50 inches and 63 inches fork length. Fork length is measured in a straight line from the tip of the nose to the fork in the caudal fin (tail) with the fish laying on its side on a flat surface and the tape measure/ruler positioned flat under the fish. All harvested sturgeon must be recorded on a Catch Record Card (Catch Code 549). Two pole fishing is allowed. Only one single-point barbless hook and bait per rod is allowed. Closed to night fishing. Anglers must cease fishing for the day after obtaining a daily limit and for the season after the annual limit has been taken. All other statewide rules for white sturgeon must be observed.

Anglers are asked to use heavy gear (50 lb. test mainline and leader at a minimum) and 14/0 hooks or smaller to avoid catching and/or injuring large wild adult sturgeon. The request to use heavier gear will ensure anglers hook and land sturgeon effectively, but also is protective of large wild adult sturgeon that, if hooked, should be played to hand quickly and released. It is unlawful to remove sturgeon greater than 63 inches, totally or in part, from the water. In addition, WDFW recommends that any fish that will not be legally retained should not be removed from the water prior to release.

Reason for action: White Sturgeon hatchery programs began in 2001 in British Columbia (BC) and 2004 in Washington. Stocking ranged from 2,000-12,000 juvenile sturgeon per year from 2001 to 2010 (including both Washington and BC releases).  Survival of hatchery-produced juvenile sturgeon was higher than anticipated, resulting in a surplus of hatchery-origin sturgeon available for harvest from Lake Roosevelt.

Additional information: The Lake Roosevelt co-managers (WDFW, Spokane Tribe and the Colville Confederated Tribes) will all be conducting sturgeon fisheries. Non-tribal anglers are asked to be respectful of tribal angling, and both tribal and non-tribal sturgeon research that is occurring on the reservoir. In order to limit fishery impacts to wild adult sturgeon, the portion of Lake Roosevelt from China Bend upstream to the Canadian border will not open to fishing in 2022.

Anglers are reminded that fishery dates, times, slot limits, daily limits, and annual limits may be adjusted over time to ensure that a sustainable population of sturgeon is maintained in Lake Roosevelt, as well as equitable access to the fishery amongst the three co-managers.

Information contact: For more information, contact Chris Donley, WDFW Region 1 Fish Program Manager 509-892-1001 ext. 307 or Bill Baker, WDFW District 1 Fisheries Biologist 509-563-5499.

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