ILWACO — Eli Jamieson couldn’t help but smile as a small crowd gathered to admire his catch.
It was the first keeper sturgeon the Tygh Valley, Oregon, resident had caught in nearly a decade and at 49-inches and 43-pounds among of the biggest brought to the Ilwaco dock this season.
“It’s the first keeper I’ve had in eight years,” Jamieson said. “This baby was just shy of 50 inches.”
The fish was soon whisked away by Sea Breeze Charter deckhand Ryan Hung and delivered to Sportsmen’s Cannery, where Kevin Ward began a familiar routine of removing the fins and delicately cutting away thick fillets.
Only a few days left
After a relatively slow start to the season, sturgeon fishing has heated up in recent weeks with more keepers being caught.
The fishery has been open Monday, Wednesday and Saturday since May 13 and will continue through June 5, from the Wauna powerlines downriver to Buoy 10 and adjacent Washington tributaries.
The fishery closes at 2 p.m. each of those days. Only white sturgeon measuring 44 to 50 inches from the tip of their nose to the fork in their tale (“fork length”) may be retained.