Gilbert River closed

For those who don't know, the Gilbert River recently became closed to all anglers due to poaching that had been occuring. This includes all fishing, including C&R sturgeon fishing and fishing for other species. This makes me furious. I know it's unpopular on this forum to say disparaging things about the ODFW, and I recognize that this was likely a last resort for them and not an easy decision, but it seems ridiculously unfair to completely close an entire fishery for everyone due to the despicable actions of a few. I have fished this river for years, both for sturgeon and warmwater species, and have always obeyed every rule to the letter. I know many other anglers who do the same. The fact that a few selfish individuals thought that they were above the law and had the right to kill a protected species is wrong and inexcusable, but I really feel that the ODFW could still have done more before outright closing the entire river. The article also mentions sea lions which really should also be better taken care of. The Gilber River also has one of the few handicap-accessible sturgeon fishing docks, and now this will no longer be accessible to people who cannot fish in most situations. I'm fortunate enough to be able to simply fish for sturgeon elsewhere from my kayak, but a family friend of mine helps run the Heroes on the Water program and some of the wounded veterans he takes fishing can only fish from these handicap-accessible areas. The fact that these veterans will no longer be able to fish from the dock makes me especially sick.

However in case I wasn't clear enough the poachers are definitely at blame here. I'm mad at how the ODFW handled it but if it weren't for the scum of the earth who deliberately poached these beautiful fish we wouldn't even be having this conversation. I hope for their sake I never run into them on the water.


Terrible news, I was looking forward to doing some fishing on Sauvie this year and even got my parking pass for the year. Hopefully the rules will change, but the truth is that I have seen a few unsavory characters on the Island and most likely ODW and the local law enforcement agencies simply don't have the manpower to police the area. Sucks when the actions of a few idiots ruin things for the rest of us. Word of advice, if you see poachers, call the toll free line right away and don't engage the idiots on the water, not worth it.

Casting Call

Active member
How stupid is that? If the agencies can't monitor poachers, What makes them think they can moniter tresspassers? Really that's stupid to think said agencies think that if by catching tresspassers it will stop poachers. WRONG!!!! Most tresspassers I know will C&R or abide by the fishery rules and regs. Go cripple some poachers law peeps. Lets us fisher peeps enjoy our sport..:disgust: Tony


Active member
This sucks, but I believe their thinking is pretty simple Casting Call - the basic idea being that now instead of having to individually check all of the guys out there (50-75 % of whom, if you walk a little ways from the parking areas, are catching, or at least hooking, sturgeon after sturgeon on small barbed hook rigs while claiming to be fishing for catfish, carp etc), they can not only make their job simpler by immediately addressing anyone along the Gilbert River who has fishing gear (at least during those peak sturgeon spawning/gathering dates that they now have as NO fishing whatsoever), but also drastically reduce the outright poaching, as well as the "subtle" rule bending that I describe above.

I love exploring the Gilbert and nearby lakes and fishing for warmwater species, sometimes including sturgeon. It's an incredible and unique area, drawing in sturgeon from all around the Willamette and Columbia systems, and probably beyond, to feed and spawn, esp in the spring. It really is essentially a sturgeon sanctuary, and has been for thousands of years (well before the current sea lion problem). But in my explorations I constantly come across extremely suspicious folks out there, as well as the remnants of numerous illegal camps. If you haven't beaten brush and gone off the beaten path on Sauvie Is, you have NO IDEA how bad it is. Don't believe me? You can still hike in that area. Go explore the harder to reach areas along the river and lake margins, you'll see what I mean.

I also bought my parking pass for the year last week. It sucks that I won't be able to fish as much with it. (And it sucks that the Heroes on the Water thing might not work as well anymore, that seemed like a great program!) But honestly I've been baffled for the last few years how the situation has been allowed to go on like it was, so I'm not really that surprised. It's unrealistic to think the ODFW could effectively patrol all those areas the way it was - again, if you haven't gone off the beaten path there, you don't realize how many places there are to hide and basically do whatever you want. Now with checking the more popular areas being made much much simpler, they can probably focus on catching the folks still trying to fish in the hidden places.

So the part of me that cares about the fish is actually kind of relieved, to be honest. Though I do think the ODFW could have pitched this as a general effort to protect sturgeon population/habitat, and that would have gone down much better than throwing all the blame on poaching (and sea lions...haha bad idea ODFW!). Now all the fisherfolks are naturally going to feel more frustrated that some can ruin it for all, when in reality, allowing sturgeon or any bottom fishing on the Gilbert without significant oversight was probably NEVER a good idea.

Lastly, the way I'm reading the rule change, it looks like the handicap accessible fishing dock at the mouth is still open for fishing? That might need a phone call to clarify (see below). Also, there's a few spots along the confluence downriver from that dock that are decent for catfish/bass/crappie/carp etc. that are still fair game, for what it's worth....

Gilbert River

From the Gilbert River fishing pier, near the confluence with Multnomah Channel, upstream approximately four miles to Sturgeon Lake.
  • Effective April 24, 2017 closed to all sturgeon fishing, including catch-and-release, year round.
  • Closed to all fishing April 24 – June 15 and Oct. 1 – Dec. 31.
  • The Big Eddy fishing pier, a disabled angler platform located at the headwaters of the river near Sturgeon Lake, is 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.

Casting Call

Active member
Bubs! Points well made and taken. I agree with all you have said:whs: I was addressing the fishery not the location. Policeing is the problem and we all know thats not going to happen soon.Tony
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