Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officials announced last week that white sturgeon caught legally in the Bonneville Reservoir Jan. 1 to Feb. 10, 2013 can be kept by anglers.
The Columbia River and tributaries from Bonneville Dam upstream to the Dalles Dam (Bonneville Reservoir) are part of the white sturgeon retention rule for the winter period.
WDFW officials say this new rule establishes the winter-period white sturgeon retention season in the Bonneville Reservoir. Fishing season managers determined that closing the season to sturgeon retention Feb. 11 will reserve about 850 fish for a summer retention season. This decision was made Dec. 18 at a joint Washington-Oregon public hearing.
The status of the white sturgeon fishing season will be reviewed at a joint Washington-Oregon public hearing scheduled for Jan. 30. Fishery managers will meet again in May to set dates for the summer retention season.
Catch-and-release fishing for sturgeon will still be allowed between Bonneville and the Dalles dams when retention is not allowed. The section of the Columbia River and tributaries between the Dalles and McNary dams opens to sturgeon retention Jan. 1 as a permanent rule and will remain open until respective harvest guidelines for each reservoir are reached.
The spawning sanctuaries from the Highway 395/I-82 Bridge upstream to McNary Dam and from the Rufus grain elevator upstream to John Day Dam will be closed to all sturgeon fishing May 1 through July 31.
Fishing regulations are subject to change. Check the WDFW fishing hotline for the latest rule information at (360) 902-2500; press 2 for recreational rule.