Fish & Feathers: Sturgeon season closed

<I>RON MALAST photo</I><BR>Women of the Moose fisherwomen celebrate their catch. Left to right: Debbie Olsen, Malia Ireland, Lone Malast and Pam Gardner.

Rulers of the sturgeon season have finished making their second preliminary catch estimate for the estuary sturgeon fishery.

Through June 20, there was an estimated cumulative kept catch of 10,600 legal-size white sturgeon, 66 percent of the 16,000 fish quota. Of the 10,600 catch, 2,600 were from June 14 through June 20. At the current catch and effort levels, it was estimated the 16,000 fish guideline will be met and the season closed July 4.

Anglers now are required to release all sturgeon caught in the Columbia and its tributaries downstream from the Wauna power lines near Cathlamet, the WDFW announced. Anglers fishing for sturgeon in the river from the Wauna power lines upstream to Beacon Rock are allowed to keep their catch only on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through July 31.

The commission's logic on how to achieve the 2004 goal, which is increasing the number of sturgeon reaching breeding age, is baffling to me.

It's a fact that a 58- to 60-inch sturgeon reproduces at a much faster rate than a 42 or 43-inch fish, which they are trying to protect. They have forced fishermen to target the most viable larger sturgeon - there have been many big hefties taken - which would be ripe for spawning very shortly. Seems to be counter-productive, but I would love to hear a sound reason for their policy.

Women of the Moose retain Sturgeon TrophyEach sturgeon season the men and women of the Ocean Park Moose Lodge take separate charters to determine which gender produces the champion sturgeon fisherpersons.

In 2003, the women devastated the men by catching five fish in the upper 50s range, which outclassed anything the men boated. In 2004, the women, who always put on a better party (on the boat), again outclassed the men.

Malia Ireland and Lone Malast proved to be co-winners with equally sized fish. To add insult to injury, the next day Barbara Taylor (WOTM), hooked a short-tailed 54-inch fish which weighted in at 46-pounds, which really set the men back on their barstools. Oh well, maybe next year, guys!

Nautical OriginsCareen - From the Latin word carina Keel or French carener. Prior to hydraulic lifts, hulls still needed to be cleaned, patched, caulked, etc. Careening is a deliberate heeling to one side to accomplish these tasks. Usually done on a careenage, a steep sandy shoreline.

Figurehead - An ornamental figure placed on the front of a ship, under the bowsprit. Originally a religious or protective emblem. The custom continued but for purely decorative purposes. Hence the term figurehead - a leader with no real power of function except to "look good" or appeal to a certain group.

*** NEWS FLASH ***Albacore had been reported to have moved very close to our coast, then the warm water shifted south and delayed the local fishery.

Most charter boats will be using live bait, so call Pacific Salmon Charters at 1 (800) 831-2695 or 642-3466 or SeaBreeze Charters at 1 (800) 204-9125 for more information.

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