Columbia sturgeon season will not reopen in October

Oregon and Washington fishery managers decided this week that the sturgeon retention season on the lower Columbia River above Wauna will not open Oct. 20 as planned.

The lower Willamette River and the mainstem Columbia River remain open for catch-and-release sturgeon from the mouth to the Oregon/Washington border. Retention remains open Thursday-Saturday in The Dalles Pool until the 300-fish annual guideline is met.

According to Steve Williams, deputy administrator of ODFW’s Fish Division, fewer than 100 fish remain available for harvest in the area between Wauna and Bonneville Dam, and that’s not enough fish to allow the season to open as planned.

The sturgeon shortfall is the result of greater than expected catches in the estuary fishery and also for the first six months of the year upstream of the Wauna powerlines. During that time anglers harvested an estimated 1,860 fish, or 89 percent of the 2,080 quota, during 23,000 angler trips.

“Effort and catch rates were considerably higher from January through July this year than what we saw in 2011,” according to John North, fisheries manager for ODFW’s Ocean Salmon and Columbia River Program. “That is a positive sign but unfortunately it resulted in most of the annual quota for this area being used early in the season.”

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