Oregon and Washington fishery managers announced Monday the closure of sturgeon retention in the John Day Dam reservoir of the Columbia River effective at the end of the day Saturday.
State officials predict the 2011 white sturgeon sport harvest quota of 500 fish would be achieved today (Friday) despite the fact the allowable harvest had been increased from 165 fish last year.
High catches in January, combined with an estimated catch of 140 fish the past two weeks, has consumed most of the harvest quota, according to a fact sheet prepared by the Oregon and Washington department of fish and wildlife staffs for Monday’s joint state sport fishery hearing.
In other areas of the Columbia River, sturgeon harvest in The Dalles Dam’s reservoir is currently well within its harvest quota of 300 fish and remains open to the retention of sturgeon.
The Bonneville pool was closed on Feb. 19 based on a projected harvest of 2,000 white sturgeon. However, catch rates in this reservoir slowed during the last 10 days of the season and managers estimate that there are still 370 fish available under the quota. Managers are considering options to reopen the season to allow anglers to harvest these remaining fish.
All three reservoirs remain open for catch-and-release fishing for white sturgeon through the end of the year except in designated sturgeon sanctuaries in place from May 1-July 31 immediately below The Dalles and John Day dams.
Recreational retention seasons for each Zone 6 (Columbia River mainstem reservoirs between Bonneville and McNary dams) pool last year remained open from Jan. 1 until catch guidelines were reached. Increased effort in Bonneville Pool and higher than average catch rates in all three reservoirs resulted in shorter retention seasons than in recent years. Sturgeon retention was allowed through Feb. 20 in Bonneville Pool, through May 5 in The Dalles Pool, and through Feb. 28 in the John Day Pool. Preliminary catch estimates include 1,372, 262 and 159 fish, respectively.