Public meetings scheduled to discuss changes to Lake Roosevelt white sturgeon season

Roosevelt Lake - Electric City, WA

by WA Department of Fish & Wildlife Staff

SPOKANE – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will host two public meetings in late March to inform anglers of planned changes to future (including 2023) white sturgeon fishing seasons on Lake Roosevelt in northeast Washington.

Since 2018, the Lake Roosevelt sturgeon fishery has opened in mid-June and closed at the end of September. In 2023, it will transition to a fall fishery to take advantage of cooler water temperatures which reduce stress on wild adult sturgeon caught by anglers.

Changes to other area sturgeon fishing rules will be made as well. As an example, sturgeon reared and released into Lake Roosevelt between 2011-2016 didn't survive as well as those released in earlier years of the project. The 2011-2016 fish are of high conservation value and cannot sustain harvest, so changes to the harvest slot (the size of fish legal to harvest) will be necessary over the next five to seven years to ensure the population is not negatively impacted. Beginning with sturgeon produced in 2017, hatchery fish were larger at the time of release, which generally translates into higher survival. That means a surplus of harvestable sturgeon is once again anticipated as those fish grow into harvestable sizes (likely beginning in 2029 or 2030).

"The white sturgeon population and fishery of Lake Roosevelt are incredibly valuable," said Region 1 Fish Program Manager Chris Donley. "Changes to the fishery rules and season are based in conservation, and we are holding these meetings to share what we know with the public. We want them to know these decisions aren't made lightly and are done to ensure conservation of the species and to preserve future fishing opportunity."

The two meetings on the changes to the Lake Roosevelt sturgeon fishing season will be:

  • Wednesday, Mar. 22, 2023 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at WDFW Region 1 headquarters, 2315 N. Discovery Place, Spokane Valley, and
  • Thursday, Mar. 23, 2023 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at the Ag Trade Center, located at the Colville Fairgrounds, 317 W. Astor Ave., Colville

Each meeting will consist of a presentation followed by a question-and-answer session.

WDFW works to preserve, protect, and perpetuate fish, wildlife and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish and wildlife recreational and commercial opportunities.

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