Outdoors briefs: Board debates Columbia chinook rules

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will consider adopting new fishery management plans for Columbia River spring and summer chinook salmon during a meeting in Olympia on Jan. 9-10.

Those plans, which include guidelines for allocating sport and commercial harvest opportunities for the popular chinook fisheries, will top the commission's agenda Jan. 10.

The first day of the meeting will be devoted to briefings on other issues, including a pilot grazing program on lands owned by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Gov. Gregoire's 2009-11 budget proposal for the department.

An agenda for the meeting is available on the commission's Web site at http://wdfw.wa.gov/com/meetings.htm.

The commission held a public hearing earlier this month on new guidelines recommended for Columbia River spring and summer chinook fisheries by a bi-state subcommittee established in conjunction with the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission.

New rule starts for sturgeon

Fishery managers in Washington and Oregon are making it easier for anglers fishing for sturgeon to measure the fish to make sure they comply with state size limits.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife said the two states' fishery managers have decided to base official size limits for white sturgeon on "fork length" rather than the fish's full length.

"Fork length" is the distance between the tip of a fish's nose and the fork in its tail.

The change is designed primarily to make it easier to measure thrashing sturgeon, which often run four to five feet in length, said Brad James, a fish biologist for the department.

A maximum size limit will be retained to protect large, breeding female sturgeon.