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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

June 26, 2009 at 9:09 PM

Word on the Lower Columbia sport sturgeon fishery

Sturgeon fishing remained good in the Lower Columbia River estuary this past week, and the fishery remains open through June 28, and then reopens July 2-5.

Last week, 395 boats with 1,302 anglers kept 272 legal-sized white sturgeon, and released 11 green sturgeon, 24 oversize sturgeon, and 829 sub-legal sturgeon. Plus, 32 charter boat anglers caught eight legal-sized white sturgeon and released 26 sub-legal sturgeon.

Here is data released by state Fish and Wildlife on June 25 on the sturgeon fishery in the Lower Columbia River below the Wauna power lines:

Based on the 2006-2009 Joint State agreement and catch during 2006 through 2008, a total of 15,529 fish are available for 2009 fisheries below Wauna power lines.

An estimated 1,125 white sturgeon were kept during January through May, which is about 67 percent of the cumulative catches through May in both 2007 and 2008.

Catch rates in June started out slow, but have improved as the season has progressed, having averaged 212 fish per day during June 1-7, 352 fish per day during June 8-14, and 415 fish per day during June 15-21.

Oregon-side anglers accounted for 86 percent of the June 1-7 non-charter harvest, 77 percent of the June 8-14 non-charter harvest, and 71 percent of the June 15-21 non-charter harvest.

Based on preliminary fishery sampling results, catch during June 1-21 is estimated at 6,875 fish, bringing the year-to-date total to about 8,000 fish, leaving a balance of about 7,530 fish for the remainder of 2009.

Catch rates can improve quickly in June and July, making it difficult to make accurate catch projections for the remainder of the scheduled season. Catch in this fishery during late June and early July averaged 644 fish per day in 2007 and 504 fish per day in 2008.

The projected balance provides for an average catch of about 684 fish per day for the 11 days remaining in the scheduled season.

Staff will continue to monitor the fishery and will provide another update next week.

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