HOOK & FUR: Sturgeon and other fishing news

By Bob Brown

Washington and Oregon fishery managers have set closure dates for sturgeon fisheries on two sections of the Columbia River.

Starting Feb. 4, anglers will be required to release any sturgeon they intercept from Bonneville Dam upstream to The Dallas Dam. In addition, the retention fishery for white sturgeon from John Day Dam to McNamara Dam will close effective Feb. 12. However, both areas will remain open to catch-and-release fishing for sturgeon after those dates. That is also the case for white sturgeon in the John Day Pool, which closed to retention fishing Jan. 20 after reaching its annual quota for the year.

Officials said closing the retention of sturgeon on both sections of the Columbia should allow, as in recent years, for a summer fishery under the annual catch guideline.

The possibility of a recreational smelt fishery on the Cowlitz River will also be a topic of future discussions. In 2017, fishery managers approved a one-day recreational dip-net fishery on the Cowlitz River based on the strength of last year’s commercial catch figures. However, current projections indicate the smelt run will be smaller in 2018 than last year’s run. As in previous years, fishery managers approved a limited commercial research fishery during specific dates in February to monitor the annual abundance of eulachon smelt, which were listed as a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act in 2010. If commercial catch figures average 250 pounds per delivery, fishery managers may consider a limited recreational fishery in 2018, she said.


Clam up


Some good news for clam connoisseurs. Through April 30, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has extended the sports clam season on the Point Whitney Tidelands., located in Jefferson County on the west side of Hood Canal near Brinnon. Surveys at the tideflats

indicate the clam population has increased, allowing for a longer season. The clam season at Point Whitney Tideflats runs concurrently with the clam season at Point Whitney Lagoon (January1 through April 30).


Steelhead report


Chehalis Sunbirds reported steelhead fishing has been pretty good on the Skookumchuck River. Standard baits are being used, but expect crowds.

Fishing hasn’t been that great on the Cowlitz River. Joe Hymer of the WDFW said effort and catches have been light at both ends of the river.


Bob Brown lives in Roy and is a freelance outdoors writer. He can be contacted at robertb1285@centurylink.net.


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