You may not know it, but we have the largest freshwater fish species in North America right here in Oregon. White Sturgeon, with their rough, scaleless skin and 4 barbels near their snouts, provide some of the best fishing opportunities in the country. We fish for these bottom feeders most of the year, on the Willamette River and Columbia River in the Portland area. Mid-May, the sturgeon start migrating to the Columbia River Estuary in Astoria, and from there through July, it’s sturgeon central.
The Columbia River Estuary is an amazingly rich ecosystem that creates ideal conditions for some of my favorite fish. It all starts way upriver with spawned out salmon carcasses from the previous season. As they decompose in the Columbia River and its tributaries, they release nutrients like nitrates and phosphates, which flow downriver to the Pacific Ocean. Plankton in the estuary and ocean feed on these nutrients. In turn, the plankton are eaten by anchovies and other bait fish. Of course the smaller fish are consumed by Salmon and Sturgeon as they come into the area. Summer is when it all culminates with some incredible fishing opportunities during our warmest water temperatures. It’s actually pretty amazing if you stop to think about it.
We wrapped up the 2019 Keeper Sturgeon Season in Astoria last week with some great days of fishing. ODFW purposefully sets a short keeper season early in the year so that we don’t adversely affect the population. That doesn’t mean that fishing is over. The sun is out and we’re just getting started with Trophy Sturgeon Season. We kicked off with a bang last Friday, landing a 6 1/2 foot sturgeon in the shallows. We release these fish directly in the water, and often take photos at the side of the boat. Matt was so excited by his catch that he jumped out of the boat onto the sandbar to take a picture. Talk about a bucket list item!
When you’re done fishing, Astoria and the nearby city of Seaside have a lot to offer. There are great places to stay and countless local restaurants to choose from. Spend some time walking through Ft. Clatsop or Ft. Stevens. Take the kids to ride the Seaside Carousel. Walk barefoot on the beach as the sun sets and then gather around a beach bonfire to roast s’mores. If you’d like to keep your catch, we can get you out for Salmon fishing starting on June 22nd. Just let us know what excites you. It’s your trip.