White sturgeon are a long-lived species, with the typical longevity pegged at 30 to 80 years. Though a few fish over 100 years old have been verified in the Columbia River, some scientists believe the fish can live to approximately 170 years. The fish is popular among sport fishers because of the challenge to anglers; the broodstock fish weigh anywhere from 100 to 500 pounds and are known for putting up a good fight when hooked.
The white sturgeon stock in the lower Columbia downstream from Bonneville Dam is the most productive of its species. During the past 20 years, the sport and commercial sturgeon fishery has grown in popularity, partly because of diminished salmon fishing opportunities and partly because of an increased abundance of sturgeon.
Fish and Wildlife staff from both states have worked to track the positive trend in sturgeon and set sustainable harvest guidelines that allow enough fish to spawn and replenish the broodstock population in balance with the natural mortality of broodstock-sized sturgeon.