A surging sturgeon population in Lake Roosevelt has prompted fishery managers to allow harvest fishing for the second year in a row.
Fishery managers started a sturgeon hatchery in the early 2000s. At that time the fish populations had been in decline for decades. However, the survival rate for the hatchery fish was higher than anticipated, according to a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife news release. That prompted managers to open the fishery to anglers.
Fishing will be open seven days a week, starting June 15. Areas open for sturgeon fishing include Lake Roosevelt, from Grand Coulee Dam to China Bend boat ramp (including the Spokane River from Highway 25 bridge upstream to 400 feet below Little Falls Dam, Colville River upstream to Meyers Falls and the Kettle River upstream to Barstow Bridge).
The daily limit is one sturgeon with an annual limit of two white sturgeon, according to the news release.
White sturgeon fishing was allowed in 2017 for the first time. Anglers caught about 3,200 hatchery-born sturgeon. The 2018 harvest target is 1,000 fish.
According to the WDFW news release: “Anglers are asked to use heavy gear (50-pound test mainline and leader, at a minimum) and use 14/0 hooks or smaller (approximately 2 inches or less from point to shank) to avoid catching or injuring large, wild adult sturgeon. The request to use heavier gear will ensure anglers hook and land sturgeon effectively, but also is protective of large, wild adult brood sturgeon that, if hooked, should be played to hand quickly and released without being removed from the water. WDFW recommends that any fish that will not be legally retained should not be removed from the water prior to release. “
Fish between 53 inches and 63 inches in fork length may be harvested. All harvested surgeon must be recorded on a Catch Record Card (Catch Code 549). Two-pole fishing is allowed. Night fishing is not allowed. All other statewide rules for white sturgeon must be observed.
The slot limit was changed from 2017 in an effort to target more mature fish.
For more information contact Chris Donley, WDFW Region 1 Fish Program Manager, (509) 892 1001 x 307 or Bill Baker, WDFW District 1 Fisheries Biologist, (509) 563-5499.
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