For the first time on more than 30 years, Lake Roosevelt in eastern Washington will open soon for sturgeon fishing.
An area from Grand Coulee Dam to China Bend boat launch including the Spokane River from Highway 25 Bridge upstream to 400 feet below Little Falls Dam, Colville River to Meyers Falls, and the Kettle River to Barstow Bridge will be open daily from this Saturday (May 27) through Sept. 17.
Another location of the lake from China Bend Boat Ramp to the Canadian Border (white sturgeon spawning sanctuary) will be open daily from Aug. 1 through Sept. 17.
A sturgeon hatchery program was implemented in early 2000s after a prolonged decline seen in the white sturgeon population.
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Survival rates according to state Fish and Wildlife of hatchery-produced juvenile sturgeon is much higher than was anticipated leading to a surplus of fish to catch-and-keep.
The daily limit is one sturgeon with an annual limit of two fish. Sturgeon must measure between 38 inches and 63 inches fork length. Measurements are taken from the tip of the snout to middle of the fork in the caudal fin (tail).
The two-pole fishing endorsement is allowed, and the areas are closed to night fishing. Barbless hooks are required.
State fisheries would like anglers to use heavy-duty fishing gear (50-pound test mainline and leader at a minimum, and use 14/0 hooks or smaller (approximately 2 inches or less from point to shank) to make sure sturgeon are landed effectively. It is also recommended that any fish not kept be kept in the water before releasing.
Non-tribal licensed anglers will have the opportunity to harvest up to 10,250 sturgeon over the next 10 years.
Anglers are reminded that fishery dates, times, slot limits, daily limits and annual limits may be adjusted over the next decade to ensure a sustainable population of sturgeon is maintained in Lake Roosevelt. This will allow for equal sharing between state and tribal co-managers.