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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

June 23, 2011 at 8:08 AM

Columbia River estuary sturgeon fishery improves, but angler turnout is way down

Just when futility was about to throw up the white flag on sturgeon fishing in the Lower Columbia River estuary, a sign of life flickered of late.

“Sturgeon catch on the coast picked up, and we had some better tides last weekend, but effort is down quite a bit,” said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist.

Catch rates picked up some last week, but effort remains light for June with only 125 boats and 16 charters this past Sunday compared to 343 boats and 14 charters the same time last year.

Catch through June 19 was 1,200 sturgeon kept from 9,000 trips compared to 2,200 sturgeon kept from 17,500 trips in 2010.

The overall Catch Per Unit Effort is 0.137 fish per angler this year compared to 0.125 last year. An estimated 18-percent of this year’s 6,800 fish guideline had been taken through June 19.

A Compact/Joint State hearing is scheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday June 23.

Sources say the likely scenario to come out of the meeting wouldn’t mean less fishing time, but likely more time to fish for sturgeon.

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