Sturgeon Poaching Forces Fishing Closure of River

The Impact of Sturgeon Poaching: The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, citing an "unacceptable level of illegal actions," announced it has adopted a year-round ban on sturgeon fishing in the Gilbert River.

Sturgeon fishing on the Gilbert River in Oregon is now closed to all fishing. Shutterstock image

According to a news release from the agency, the river closed Monday, April 24, to sturgeon fishing year-round, including catch-and-release fishing.

Also, the northwest Oregon river is closed to fishing for all species from April 24 to June 15 and Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, the agency said.

The closures are expected to become permanent in 2018.

The actions are designed to protect sturgeon on the Gilbert River, which have been targeted by poachers.

"Sturgeon concentrations in the Gilbert River have unfortunately resulted in an unacceptable level of illegal actions," said Tucker Jones, ODFW's Ocean Salmon and Columbia River Program manager. "It's regrettable that the actions of these bad actors are taking opportunity away from the law abiding public."

The new rules apply from the Gilbert River fishing pier, near the confluence with Multnomah Channel, upstream approximately four miles to Sturgeon Lake. Consistent with regulations for the lower Willamette and Columbia rivers, it has been closed to retention of sturgeon since 2014, although catch-and-release fishing was allowed.

From the press release:

For several years, Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife officers have documented frequent illegal activities, including sturgeon poaching along the Gilbert River. Troopers conducted surveillance in this area and apprehended poachers hiding sturgeon in brush, backpacks and vehicles, fishing at night, and other crimes.

The Big Eddy fishing pier, a disabled angler platform located at the headwaters of the river near Sturgeon Lake, will be included in the closure.  Anglers with ODFW disabled anglers permits are advised to use the Gilbert River fishing pier at the mouth of the river instead.

For more information, please visit ODFW's online Willamette Zone Sport Fishing Regulation Update Page.

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