The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife will open a harvest fishery for white sturgeon in Lake Roosevelt starting June 15.
White Sturgeon, a species native to the Columbia River, are known for their large size, with adults growing in excess of 10 feet and weighing hundreds of pounds.
“This is the third year in a row that anglers have the opportunity to fish for white sturgeon in Lake Roosevelt,” said Chris Donley, Region 1 Fish Program manager. “This is a great opportunity for anglers to get out and pursue one of the greatest native sportfish in Washington.”
White sturgeon hatchery programs started in the early 2000s in British Columbia and Washington State. Between both jurisdictions, stocking ranged from 2,000 to 12,000 juvenile sturgeon per year from 2001 to 2010.
“Survival of hatchery-produced juvenile sturgeon was higher than anticipated,” Donley said. “As a result there is a surplus of hatchery-origin sturgeon available for harvest from Lake Roosevelt.”
Anglers will be able to fish for them from Grand Coulee Dam to the China Bend Boat Ramp (including the Spokane River from the 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 and the annual limit is two, although anglers may continue to catch and release fish after reaching daily and annual limits.
Legal size to keep a white sturgeon is between 53 and 63 inches from the tip of the snout to the middle of the fork in the tail. All harvested sturgeon must be recorded on a Catch Record Card..
Anglers are asked to use heavy gear (50-pound test mainline and leader at a minimum) and use 14/0 hooks or smaller to avoid catching or injuring large wild adult sturgeon. Two-pole fishing is allowed but night fishing is not.
The white sturgeon season will be open until further notice. Season dates, times, slot limits, daily limits and annual limits may be adjusted to ensure that a sustainable population of sturgeon is maintained in Lake Roosevelt.
For more on sturgeon see:
— CBB, May 14, 2019, BIOLOGISTS DETAIL HEALTH OF WHITE STURGEON POPULATIONS IN COLUMBIA/LOWER SNAKE RIVER; A MIXED BAG https://www.cbbulletin.com/biologists-detail-health-of-white-sturgeon-populations-in-columbia-lower-snake-river-a-mixed-bag/
— CBB, Jan. 5, 2018, COUNCIL SYMPOSIUM LOOKS AT WHITE STURGEON SURVIVAL THROUGHOUT COLUMBIA BASIN https://www.cbbulletin.com/council-symposium-looks-at-white-sturgeon-survival-throughout-columbia-basin/
— CBB, Sept. 22, 2017, UPPER COLUMBIA WHITE STURGEON RECOVERY EFFORTS NOW PRODUCING ENOUGH FISH FOR FISHERIES https://www.cbbulletin.com/upper-columbia-white-sturgeon-recovery-efforts-now-producing-enough-fish-for-fisheries/