The Northern Pikeminnow Sport Reward Program paid out big again to anglers who participated in their fishing program to reduce the number of larger size preadators in the species from the Lower Columbia River. In fact, the top 10 anglers earned an amazing $536,580 in 5 months for fishing. The most impressive part is the top finisher earned more than $100,000 by catching and removing 10,755 pike minnows from May 1 to Sep. 30. His catch earned him exactly $107,800. And the second place angler removed another 9,786 pike minnows to earn just shy of that at $99,110.
Earning $100,000 for five months of fishing doesn’t sound like a bad gig.
The Northern Pikeminnow Sport Reward Program posted the top 20 finishers last month on the PikeMinnow.org website. The first place finisher was the second highest in the program’s history. The program bounty is funded by Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and works in conjunction with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to put on the program every year from May 1 to Sep. 30 in an effort to protect native Salmon and Steelhead fish populations. The program pays anglers for each northern pikeminnow that they catch that is 9 inches or larger. Rewards range from $6 to $10 per fish, and special tagged fish are worth $500.
According to the ODFW, the northern pikeminnow eat millions of salmon and steelhead juveniles each year in the Columbia and Snake River systems. The goal of the program is not to eliminate northern pikeminnow, but rather to reduce the average size and curtail the number of larger, older fish. Reducing the number of these predators can greatly help the salmon and steelhead juveniles making it out to sea.
A very cool program that pays out some very cool bounties to reduce the size and numbers of predatory fish obstructing salmon and steelhead populations.