gillnetters fishing for the few sturgeon available to them this winter in The
Dalles and John Day pools, pulled in low numbers of the fish in the first week
of winter gillnetting season.
February 6, the Tribal sturgeon setline fishery, which opened January 1, has
failed to catch any sturgeon in any of the three pools, including the
Bonneville pool, while gillnetters in the sturgeon fishery, which opened
Wednesday, February 1, have harvested just 31 fish, 29 from the John Day pool
and four from The Dalles pool.
water’s been quite cold and sturgeon are not moving around much: it’s a slow
time of year,” Stuart Ellis of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission
told the two-state Columbia River Compact at its hearing Tuesday, February 7.
In addition, he said that due to snow, rain and wind in the Columbia River
Gorge a number of boat ramps have “not really been accessible, but we think
that will be resolved once the weather improves.”
10 to 15 crews with as many as 50 to 70 nets have been out fishing. “They just
have not been catching fish yet,” Ellis said.
fishers are allowed to take a total of 945 sturgeon from the three pools. Some
325 sturgeon – at the slot size of 38 inches to 48 inches – this winter from
the Bonneville pool (none have been taken at this point), 325 from The Dalles
pool – slot size 43 inches to 54 inches (four have been taken, leaving a
321-fish allotment), and 295 fish from the John Day pool – 43 to 54 inches –
and 27 have been harvested, leaving an allotment of 268 fish.
other species have been reported harvested to date, according to the Tribal
Staff Report Winter Fact Sheet #2
steelhead are present in the pools, none have been caught, Ellis said, because
Tribal fishers are setting their nets deep and in areas where steelhead are not
John Day fishery was to have closed Tuesday, February 7 at 6 pm, but this week
the Compact extended sturgeon fishing to Wednesday, February 15 (see the
February 7 Compact Action Notice at
to the Winter Fact Sheet, the “sturgeon catch per day is within typical ranges
for this time of year. Catch rates generally increase as the season progresses.
Assuming catch rates increase next week to the maximum observed during this
time period, tribal staff project the fisheries in the John Day and The Dalles
pools will still be within their commercial harvest guidelines by February 18.”
and hook and line fishing for sturgeon will continue.
is the second Compact hearing of 2017. Last week the Compact met to set fishing
periods of Tribal sturgeon gillnetting, non-tribal commercial fisheries in
select areas and commercial smelt gillnetting in the lower river.
February 3, 2017, “First 2017 Hearing Setting Fishing Times: Spring, Summer
Chinook, Sockeye, Smelt All Forecasted Down,”
December 16, 2016, “Early Fish Forecast: Lower Returns Than Last Year Expected
For Spring/Summer Chinook, Sockeye,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/438095.aspx