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Bonneville sturgeon season closes Feb. 21

 
February 11, 2010

 

CLACKAMAS, Ore. – Oregon and Washington fishery managers announced today the closure of sturgeon retention in the Columbia River and tributaries from Bonneville Dam to The Dalles Dam, effective 12:01 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 21.

The closure was approved in response to creel surveys that indicated catch rates in Bonneville reservoir have been much higher than expected since the beginning of the year.

Relatively mild weather, good river conditions, and recent increases in the number of legal-sized fish contributed to unusually high catch rates, according to Chris Kern, assistant manager of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Columbia River Fisheries Program.

Earlier this year, fishery managers doubled the harvest guideline in Bonneville reservoir from 700 to 1,400 fish, based on population estimates that showed the number of legal-sized sturgeon in that section of the Columbia had increased substantially from prior years.

“Apparently word got out that sturgeon fishing above Bonneville has been exceptional because we’re seeing very high effort and catch rates,” said Kern.

In January, ODFW counted a total of 1,400 angler trips in Bonneville reservoir, with 390 sturgeon kept. That compares to only 400 trips and 20 sturgeon kept during the same period in 2009. Through Feb. 7, anglers had harvested an estimated 790 sturgeon. Biologists calculate if catch rates continue to be high anglers will reach the harvest guideline as early as Feb. 21 with a projected catch of 1,382 fish.

Sturgeon fisheries in The Dalles and John Day reservoirs and below Bonneville are not affected by this closure. Those fisheries will be evaluated during a scheduled Oregon-Washington Joint State Hearing on Feb. 18 in Oregon City. That meeting will take place at the Clackamas County Historical Society building, located at 211 Tumwater Drive, beginning at 10 a.m.

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Contact:

Chris Kern (971) 673-6031
Rick Swart (971) 673-6038

 
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