The recent warm weather makes it feel like summertime already and has me itching to get out on the Columbia River in Astoria to chase our local monster fish – Sturgeon. While the Pacific Northwest offers year-round Sturgeon fishing on both the Columbia and Willamette Rivers, nothing can compare to the experience of fishing for these prehistoric creatures in the Columbia River Estuary around Astoria.
The warmer water temperatures of summer create the perfect environment for Sturgeon in Astoria. Bait fish swarm into the estuary, attracting both upriver and coastal sturgeon. Then the sturgeon converge in the brackish water to gorge themselves.
The big difference between fishing in other parts of the Columbia River for sturgeon and fishing for sturgeon around Astoria is the depth of water that we’re able to fish. Oftentimes we will catch fish in less than 5 feet of water as the fish move up on the flats to feed. Combine the shallow water with relatively light tackle and you’ve got an epic tussle on your hands. Did we mention that sturgeon come out of the water, too? Fishing for sturgeon in Astoria is just different and really, there’s no comparison. Sturgeon fishing in Astoria is simply the best sturgeon fishing there is.
We’re still waiting for the 2020 Keeper Sturgeon season to be announced and will let you know as soon as we hear anything. The short season typically takes place during select days from mid-May through the first week of June, but with everything going on this year, it looks like the season will be pushed back a bit. That actually moves us into dates where there are more sturgeon in the estuary and may provide more action. We’re ready to get out on the water. Keeper size is based on length, but expect fish to weigh between 20 and 40 pounds. That’s a lot of fish for your grill or freezer!
For those of you that have never eaten sturgeon, many will ask, what does sturgeon taste like? To me, halibut is the closest comparison. The flesh is white, firm and doesn’t have any bones. It’s great grilled, fried, or smoked. In fact, now that I’m getting hungry, one of my favorite things in the world is a smoked sturgeon sandwich… on a nice roll with lettuce, pickles and mayo….omg. Enjoy it as you’d like, just know sturgeon is a very special treat around here.
The Columbia River Estuary boasts some bucket-list worthy Trophy Sturgeon fishing. The season takes center stage as soon as the keeper season ends, and will run clear through the first half of August this year. When conditions allow in July and August, we can fish for Ocean Salmon and Trophy Sturgeon during the same trip. Spending the day wrestling fish that can be upwards of 7-8 feet is pretty amazing on its own. Throw in the sandbanks and shallows of the Columbia River Estuary, where the water is sometimes only 4-6 feet deep, and you’ve got the makings for some incredible memories. Take a look at some of the fun we had last year.