Lake Roosevelt white sturgeon fishery

Roosevelt Lake - Electric City, WA

by WA Department of Fish & Wildlife Staff

Action: Opens white sturgeon retention in Lake Roosevelt.

Effective dates: Sept. 16 through Nov. 30, 2023

Species affected: White Sturgeon.

Location: Lake Roosevelt: From Grand Coulee Dam to the Canadian border (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: 

  • Open daily. Daily limit 1 sturgeon. Annual Limit 2 sturgeon.
  • fork length 53”. Max. fork length 63”. Fork length is measured in a straight line from the tip of the snout to the middle of the fork in the caudal fin (tail) with the fish laying on its side on a flat surface, with the tape measure/ruler positioned flat under the fish.
  • All harvested sturgeon must be recorded on a Catch Record Card (CRC 549).
  • Two-pole fishing is allowed.
  • Night closure in effect.
  • 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 without being removed from the water. WDFW recommends that any fish that will not be legally retained should not be removed from the water prior to release.

Reason for action: Hatchery programs rearing white sturgeon began in 2001 in British Columbia (BC) and 2004 in Washington. The number of juvenile white sturgeon released has ranged from 2,000-12,000 each 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. Beginning this year, 2023, the Lake Roosevelt sturgeon fishery will occur in the fall to take advantage of cooler water temperatures which are less stressful on sturgeon which are caught but not harvested by anglers.

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.

Anglers are reminded that fishery dates, times, size 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.

More Reports

Snohomish system closure update
Skykomish & Snoqualmie Rivers

Action: Closes all fishing upstream of Highway US2 Bridge for Skykomish River. Maintains previously announced Snohomish system closures. Species affected: All species. Effective dates...... Read More