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Thread: Rampant Poaching Leads to Gilbert River Sturgeon Fishing Closure & Restrictions

  1. #1
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    Default Rampant Poaching Leads to Gilbert River Sturgeon Fishing Closure & Restrictions

    "The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has adopted a year-round ban on sturgeon fishing in the Gilbert River as well as additional seasonal angling closures.

    Under temporary rules that take effect Monday, April 24, the Gilbert River closes to sturgeon fishing, including catch-and-release, year around, and closes to fishing for all species April 24-June 15 and Oct. 1-Dec. 31. Fishery managers intend to make this closure permanent starting in 2018.

    The closure is primarily a conservation measure designed to protect sturgeon on the Gilbert River, which have been targeted by poachers, according to Tucker Jones, ODFW’s Ocean Salmon and Columbia River Program manager.

    “Sturgeon concentrations in the Gilbert River have unfortunately resulted in an unacceptable level of illegal actions,” said Jones. “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.

    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."


    Link to article: http://nwsportsmanmag.com/headlines/...-restrictions/

    My thoughts - I grew up with Sauvie Island being a very close, easily accessible place to go and plunk a worm and catch just about every species of fish that exists. The Gilbert River and its many access points were just a few of many places that I would go and generally have very successful "fun" fishing all summer. Very, very rarely did I catch any sturgeon in the Gilbert itself as a young kid (likely because plunking a worm would usually lead to catching something else before the sturgeon could find it), but regardless over the years the numbers of sturgeon grew fairly quickly in the Gilbert, more than I could have ever imagined. I'd suspect that having sea lions cruising the Multnomah Channel picking off salmon and a few sturgeon here and there is what likely led them to seek refuge in the Gilbert (similar to how sturgeon can now be found in the lower reaches of the Sandy), among also having a decent source of food from other fish and shellfish. The headwaters of the Gilbert is "Sturgeon Lake" which doesn't need a whole lot of explaining as to how it got its name. The big lake has been closed to sturgeon angling for years. With the troubling numbers of sturgeon the last several years leading to retention closures in the Willamette and below Bonneville Dam in the Columbia, I could see why walling off a place like this would make sense.

    I have heard tons of horror stories about poachers killing sturgeon in the Gilbert over the years (and doing whatever means necessary to get away with it - including but not limited to illegal gillnets and hiding fish in the bushes from officers), and its very sad that they finally had to do something like this as a last straw to keep people away for good. OSP F&W is stretched thin, and regardless of how much surveillance and how many tickets they wrote, it didn't seem to curb the problem. I hate to see fishing opportunity get taken away because of issues like this, but I have a lot of respect for sturgeon. There aren't many places that a sturgeon can escape catch-and-release pressure, let alone all the other stupid crap that was going on out there. So I'm all for it.

    Just a note, the article does state that from June 16 - September 30 you can fish for other species besides sturgeon in the Gilbert (still no C&R of sturgeon however), so if you've ever wanted to take the kiddos out to plunk a worm that would be the time to do it.
    Last edited by Twise95; 04-22-2017 at 01:37 AM.
    Teddy Wise - Senior Moderator, NWFI

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    OSU Class of 2013 - Go Beavs
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    "The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope." ~ John Buchan

    Death is Certain - Fishing is Not

  2. #2
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    Yea ****, I was just about to post that for you Teddy...... This doesn't hurt sturgeon fishing one bit. You can C&R them all over the place. Still though closing the entire thing for all fishing when it is at it's very best... gah! another sad loss for anglers.
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  3. #3
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    I like this closure. I have fished the area and it's a shame folks can't play by the rules. Never hooked a Sturgeon, but pulled some Cats outta there.
    -Ken

    Two fish swim into a concrete wall... One looks to the other and says " Dam!"

  4. #4
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    It's a shame to lose opportunity for the appropriate usage groups that are local, but "play stupid games and get stupid prizes"
    "Chuck Norris talks in the fourth person"

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