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Contact: Denise Bausch, 509-754-7830
With the second year of a white sturgeon fishing season opening June 15, Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area staff remind anglers of park rules.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) recently announced a harvest fishery for white sturgeon, starting June 15 until further notice, in Lake Roosevelt from Grand Coulee Dam to China Bend Boat Ramp, including the Spokane River from Highway 25 Bridge upstream to 400 feet below Little Falls Dam, Colville River upstream to Meyers Falls and the Kettle River upstream to Barstow Bridge. (See the rule change at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/erule.jsp?id=2126.)
The daily limit is one sturgeon and the annual limit is two sturgeon. Only sturgeon between 53 and 63 inches fork length (from the tip of the snout to the fork of the tail) can be retained. WDFW regulations require anglers to bring retained whole sturgeon to shore prior to cleaning to allow checks for compliance with the slot size limit rule.
Federal regulations prohibit disposing of fish remains on land or in waters within 200 feet of boat docks or swimming beaches, or within developed areas. Sturgeon carcasses can be disposed in deep water more than 200 feet from shore facilities.
Sturgeon anglers cannot use Lake Roosevelt’s on-site fish cleaning stations because they were not designed to handle the skeletal mass and boney plates of the white sturgeon. Fish cleaning stations located throughout Lake Roosevelt are designed for the softer bones of fish species such as trout, kokanee, bass, and walleye. The fish cleaning stations located at Gifford Ferry and Kettle Falls will be closed during the sturgeon fishery to prevent any damage.
In addition to state licensing requirements for charter boats and fishing guides (see https://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/commercial/charter_guides.html), anyone interested in providing fishing guide services within the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area must have a Commercial Use Authorization (CUA). CUA applications take a minimum of 30 days to process; details are at https://www.nps.gov/laro/learn/management/commercial-use-authorizations.htm.
During the 2017 white sturgeon fishing season, the park saw a sharp increase in boaters using launches and parking lots. Vehicles and trailers must not be driven or parked off-road, nor parked on any park or campground road. Parking in unoccupied campsites is also not allowed unless the camping fee has been paid for that site.
“We appreciate sturgeon anglers helping us protect the natural and cultural resources in the park and providing a safe environment for others,” said Dan Foster, Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area Superintendent.