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Legal-size sturgeon in the lower Columbia River appear to be at their lowest number since the early 1990s and sport-fishing success its poorest in 20 years. Upstream in Idaho, fish managers are enacting new tackle restrictions in January to help reduce the lethal impact anglers have on the increasingly popular catch-and-release fishery for trophy sturgeon in the Snake and Salmon rivers.
KALISPELL, Mont. – Efforts to help endangered wild Kootenai River white sturgeon reproduce by spilling water over Montana’s Libby Dam in June haven’t been as successful as hoped due to low water conditions, a federal official said. Jason Flory of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said the river at its maximum level didn’t exceed some past years when water wasn’t spilled over the dam.
Anglers aren’t the only people stalking fish in Lake Roosevelt. Researchers have several projects under way in the 130-mile-long reservoir using radio telemetry to plot movements of kokanee, walleye and sturgeon. Walleyes have been followed as they hunker nearly 100 feet deep near the reservoir bottom during the day before rising to within 5 feet of the surface during night.
As efforts falter to save North America’s largest freshwater fish — a toothless beast leftover from the days of dinosaurs — officials hope to stave off extinction by sending more water hurtling down a river so the fish can spawn in the wild.
BONNERS FERRY – Four-inch long sturgeon frolicked in a hatchery tank – comically flipping onto their backs to feed, then wriggling right side up. Barely a year old, they looked ancient. Long snouts, sharklike tails and the sturgeon’s bony armor hinted at the species’ prehistoric origins, which date back 150 million years.