CLACKAMAS, Ore. –Fish biologists studying spawning sturgeon in the Willamette River are asking anglers to steer clear of the buoys and lines used to mark study ites.
According to Tucker Jones, white sturgeon project leader for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the agency has placed several egg mats on the river bed downriver of Willamette Falls to help document a newly discovered sturgeon spawning ground.
“Unfortunately, it appears that several anglers have drifted too close to the buoy lines and gotten their fishing or anchor lines tangled,” Jones said. To recover their gear, anglers have had to cut a line – either their fishing line or the buoy line.
“We’ve lost a few buoys,” Jones admitted. If an angler does snag fishing tackle on a buoy line, Tucker encourages them to leave it there and call him at the ODFW Clackamas office to arrange to pick it up once the gear has been retrieved.
The mats were put it place in March to help map the location and duration of the sturgeon spawning area. Although sturgeon spawn in the water column researchers hope to use the mats to catch sturgeon eggs as they settle on the river bottom. The locations of the mats are marked with large orange buoys on the surface.
The spawning mats, and buoys, will be in the river through June.