Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced the closure of the Lower Willamette after just 3 days of retention. Officials suggest that in the first part of 2010, anglers had retained approximately 3,000 sturgeon, most of the guideline of 3,600 set as quota. In the three days of retention allowed last week, ODFW officials felt that limits were close to being met. It is believed that further retention on the Lower Willamette would exceed the 3,600 fish guideline.
Recreational sturgeon fishing quotas were reduced by 40% for 2010. In addition, the fishing season was greatly reduced in order to protect these prehistoric fish.
Furthermore, restrictions on the Columbia River are also likely to come. Wildlife officials are saying that the option to extend the Columbia River fishery beyond November 20th are highly unlikely.
Sturgeon fisheries will remain open above the Willamette Falls on the Willamette River, and retention below the Willamette Falls will begin again after January 1st, 2011. All areas will remain open as a Catch-and-Release fishery only.
A kayak fishing sturgeon tournament planned by Next Adventure Paddle Sports is still tentative.