Possible night closure for Chehalis sturgeon to be discussed at June 13 meeting in Montesano

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife has scheduled a public meeting for Thursday, June 13, in Montesano to discuss possible changes to sturgeon regulations, including a night closure on the Chehalis River, the agency announced Friday.

Under current rules, catch-and-release fishing for sturgeon is permitted 24 hours per day on a large stretch of the Chehalis River, the only such 24-hour sturgeon fishery in the state.

The meeting is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. at the Fish and Wildlife Region 6 office at 48 Devonshire Rd. Other discussion topics and management recommendations include:

Extending the dates of all sturgeon spawning sanctuaries in the Columbia River from Bonneville Dam to Priest Rapids Dam, and in the Snake River below Ice Harbor Dam, through Aug. 31. Most of these spawning sanctuaries are currently in effect from May 1 through July 31.

Extending the area of the spawning sanctuaries on the Columbia River below McNary and Priest Rapids dams.

Closing sturgeon retention fishing within McNary Reservoir, inclusive of the lower Snake River below Ice Harbor Dam and the Hanford Reach below Priest Rapids Dam, due to a lack of population monitoring information.

The public can now provide comments on proposed sturgeon fishing regulations changes online at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/season-setting/sturgeon.

According to Fish and Wildlife, public feedback will be used to inform its final management recommendations. Fish managers expect to brief the Fish and Wildlife Commission in October on the resulting proposed regulations.