Due to higher mortality rates than normal, the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife has banned sturgeon fishing on a long stretch of the Columbia, at least until September.

Several dozen adult fish found floating dead in various pools

The bodies of water, or lakes, behind the Columbia River dams, are referred to as pools by the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW). Late last week, during routine patrols and inspections, numerous reports of several dozen dead adult sturgeon came in from the John Day Dam pool, along with other sightings from McNary, The Dalles, and the Hanford Reach.

DFW officials say dead sturgeon are not uncommon, especially after spawning and other environmental stresses. But these numbers are noticeably higher than normal.

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A ban on sturgeon fishing has been enacted ranging from Priest Rapids Dam (which is 24 miles south of Vantage) to The Dalles Dam which is 192 miles upstream from the mouth of the Columbia.  The stretch, by water, is about 250 miles long.

According to DFW:

"The closure will extend from The Dalles Dam upstream to Priest Rapids Dam, and is scheduled to remain in place through Sept. 15. Water temperatures increase throughout the summer but have been running warmer than the historical average, likely contributing to the increased mortalities. The fishing closure is a proactive measure being taken out of an abundance of caution to prevent additional stress on the population. "

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