From Buoy 10 to the Wauna power lines, retention of the white sturgeon is allowed daily from Jan. 1 to April 30; May 14 through June 26; and July 1 through July 4. From Jan. 1 to April 30, sturgeon must measure between 38 inches and 54 inches (fork length) to be retained. From May 14 to the end of the season, they must measure 41 inches to 54 inches (fork length). Catch and release fishing is allowed when retention is prohibited.
In contrast to the lower river, monitoring and fishery data show that legal-size populations are growing above Bonneville Dam. I wonder why? Answer: no sea lions.
In response, the states and tribes agreed to increase catch guidelines in two areas above the dam.
The Vancouver Columbian newspaper reported that gillnetters caught 62 spring Chinook salmon and 15 sturgeon on their winter fishery last Tuesday and Wednesday night. The Columbia River was open from Buoy 10 to Beacon Rock for four 24-hour periods in January and February for the commercial fleet to target sturgeon with large mesh nets.
According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the spring Chinook caught this week averaged 20.1 pounds and the sturgeon averaged 29.7 pounds. For the season, the commercials landed 75 spring Chinook and 55 sturgeon.
Spring Chinook Season
A run of 198,400 spring Chinook is forecast for the Columbia River this year with 7,750 fish allocated for the sport fishery below Bonneville Dam. The guidelines do not include the catch returning to the Columbia River tributaries such as the Willamette, Cowlitz, Lewis and Wind rivers.
The fishery is currently open to bank and boat fisherman on a daily basis from Buoy 10 near the mouth of the Columbia upstream upstream to the Interstate 5 bridge. Anglers fishing downriver of Bonneville Dam may retain one hatchery-clipped adult Chinook.
West Coast fisheries officials will announce final seasons April 9 through April 14 in San Mateo, Calif.
Razor Clam Dig
Twin Harbors, which has the highest number of clams available to harvest, will be open for digging Feb. 17 through Feb. 19. The other four beaches will be open this Friday and Saturday (Feb. 18 and 19), all beaches are afternoon digs.
You may still use your 2010-11 licenses, all diggers 15 years of age or older must have licenses.
Ron Malast may be reached at 665-3573 or email@example.com.