This year’s Northern Pikeminnow Sport Reward Fishery in the Columbia and Snake rivers opens Wednesday, May 1.
The program pays registered anglers $5 to $8 for each pikeminnow that is at least nine inches long. The more fish an angler catches, the more each pikeminnow is worth.
And some fish have an even bigger payout. State fish and wildlife biologists have released up to 1,000 specially tagged northern pikeminnow into the Columbia and Snake rivers, each worth $500.
Last year the top fisherman in the program earned more than $71,000 in just five months of fishing.
Northern pikeminnow are voracious eaters, consuming millions of young salmon and steelhead each year. Since 1990, anglers paid through the program have removed nearly 5 million pikeminnow from the Columbia and Snake rivers.
The program has reduced predation from pikeminnow on young salmon and steelhead by approximately 40 percent since it began, said the Bonneville Power Administration.
The 2019 Pikeminnow Sport Reward Fishery begins Wednesday and is scheduled to run through Sept. 30.
Northern pikeminnow experts say The Dalles is one of the best places to fish early in the season. Last season that station registered 22,464 pikeminnow, one of the highest registration rates among the 19 stations on the rivers.
The fishery website, www.pikeminnow.org, has details on how to register for the program and applicable state fishing regulations. Anglers will also find resources on the site to help boost their fishing game, including maps, how-to videos and free fishing clinics.
The program is funded by BPA and administered by the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission in cooperation with the Washington and Oregon departments of fish and wildlife.
For more information about the 2019 Pikeminnow Sport Reward Fishery visit www.pikeminnow.org, or call 800-858-9015.
— CBB, Dec. 21, 2018, “Northern Pikeminnow Sport Reward Program Removes 180,000 Fish In 2018, Top Angler Over $71,000” http://www.cbbulletin.com/441941.aspx
— CBB, Dec. 14, 2018, “CRITFC Briefs Council On Need For Common Metrics To Assess Predation Effects On Returning Salmon” http://www.cbbulletin.com/441917.aspx
— CBB, Dec. 15, 2017, “Lower Number Of Anglers Take Fewer Northern Pikeminnow In 2017 Than In 2016; $1.5 Million In Payouts” http://www.cbbulletin.com/439948.aspx
— CBB, July 22, 2016, “As Many As 45 Percent Of Tagged Spring Chinook In Estuary Disappear Before Reaching Bonneville Dam,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/437177.aspx