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Sturgeon Fishery Opens May 13th In The Columbia River Estuary

Sturgeon fishery opens May 13 in the Columbia River estuary

OLYMPIA – Starting May 13, anglers will have an opportunity to catch and retain legal-size white sturgeon in the lower 40 miles of the Columbia River under rules approved by fishery managers from Washington and Oregon.

The fishery is scheduled Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays through June 5 from the Wauna powerlines, which cross Puget Island near Cathlamet, downriver to Buoy 10 at the mouth of the Columbia River. Adjacent Washington tributaries will also be open for sturgeon fishing those days.

The fishery closes at 2 p.m. each of those days. Only white sturgeon measuring 44 to 50 inches from the tip of their nose to the fork in their tale (“fork length”) may be retained.

Laura Heironimus, a fish biologist for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) said anglers fishing in estuary will be allowed to harvest up to 2,960 of the estimated 160,250 legal-size sturgeon below Bonneville Dam.

“This year’s abundance estimate for legal-size sturgeon is similar to last year, and large enough for a decent fishery,” Heironimus said. “The guideline allows harvest on less than 4 percent of the legal-sized population. That’s important because the juvenile portion of the population is still well below desired levels – a concern for future fisheries.”

Catch limits during the season are one legal-size white sturgeon per day and two legal-size fish per year.

For additional information about the upcoming fishery, see the Fishing Rule Change at

Two other sturgeon fisheries are currently underway farther upstream on the Columbia River:

  • Bonneville Pool: Anglers may retain white sturgeon measuring 38-54 inches (fork length) between Bonneville Dam and The Dalles Dam until the catch reaches the harvest guideline of 500 fish.
  • John Day Pool: Anglers may retain white sturgeon measuring 43-54 inches (fork length) between John Day Dam and McNary Dam until the catch reaches the 105-fish guideline.
  • The Dalles Pool: These waters are closed to retention fishing, but remain open to catch-and-release fishing.
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