The new statewide rule, which reduces the annual catch limit for white sturgeon in Washington’s waters by three fish, was approved by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission last week. The commission reduced the annual catch limit in response to ongoing concerns about white sturgeon abundance in the lower Columbia River.
The change was originally scheduled to take effect May 1, but fishery managers moved the start date up to align with WDFW’s annual license year - April 1 through March 31.
Anglers who have already purchased a fishing license for the upcoming license year should note that their catch record card has five boxes for recording their catch of sturgeon, said Cindy LeFleur, regional fisheries manager for WDFW.
"Those catch record cards are still valid, but anglers need to remember that once they have marked two of those boxes they have reached their annual limit for white sturgeon," LeFleur said.
WDFW will revise catch record cards in the next few weeks to reflect the new two-sturgeon annual limit.
LeFleur said the change also will re-establish concurrent fishing regulations for white sturgeon in waters where Washington and Oregon share a boundary. Oregon recently adopted a two-fish annual catch limit for white sturgeon that also will take effect April 1.