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States close sturgeon fishing upstream of Bonneville Dam

Thursday, July 16, 2015

CLACKAMAS, Ore. – The Columbia River will close to sturgeon fishing upstream of Bonneville Dam until further notice under temporary rules adopted by the states of Oregon and Washington.

The closure takes effect on Saturday, July 18 and applies from Bonneville Dam to the Oregon/Washington border upstream of McNary Dam, including adjacent tributaries. All sturgeon angling, including catch-and-release, and retention is prohibited until further notice in this portion of the river.

Fishery managers approved the closure after reviewing survey reports that showed increased sturgeon mortality as a result of the drought conditions in some of the mid-Columbia River reservoirs.

“What we’re seeing right now is higher levels of summer mortality and indications that sturgeon are under a lot of stress this summer. This is something we can do immediately to give them some relief,” said Chris Kern, deputy administrator of ODFW’s fish division.

The sturgeon fishing closure above Bonneville is the latest emergency action aimed at reducing stress on the region’s fish populations, which are experiencing unprecedented challenges due to high water temperatures and related factors.

Earlier today, ODFW announced a series of statewide restrictions curtailing fishing hours after 2 p.m. on most of Oregon’s rivers to avoid additional stress on native fish already suffering from high water temperatures and low stream flows from this year’s drought. Included in this action was a total closure to all angling for trout, salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon in the lower Willamette River and lower Clackamas River from upstream to the I-205 Bridge. These closures also take effect Saturday, July 18. However, normal fishing hours remain in effect for the mainstem Columbia and Snake rivers.

Fish biologists are appealing to anglers to adopt additional voluntary measures that will help reduce stress on the region’s fish. Suggestions include fishing early in the day, moving to higher elevation lakes and ponds, shifting their focus from trout to warmwater species, using barbless hooks, and notifying authorities if they see mortalities or fish trapped in pools.

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Contact:

Chris Kern, ODFW (503) 947-6209
Rick Swart, ODFW (971) 673-6038

 
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