Bounty Fishers get Paid
The chance to fish for pay has begun with the start of the 2006 sport reward program for northern pikeminnows.
The Northern Pikeminnow Management Program will pay $4 to $8 for each of the salmon-eating predators caught on the Columbia and Snake rivers.
This year's program opened Monday on the Columbia River below John Day Dam east of Biggs, Ore. The season opens May 15 for the upstream reaches to Priest Rapids Dam in Central Washington and to Hells Canyon Dam on the Snake River in Idaho. The season closes Oct. 1
History: The program is designed to reduce the number of mature pikeminnows in the lower Columbia and lower Snake rivers. Since 1990, anglers has removed nearly 2.7 million northern pikeminnows. Last year, nearly 300,000 of the predators were turned in for reward. Officials estimate the program has cut juvenile salmon losses to prey by 25 percent.
The payoff: The first 100 pikeminnows caught bring $4 each. The next 300 are worth $5 each, and after 400 are turned in, they're worth $8 each. In addition, specially tagged fish will bring $500 each. Participating anglers average several hundred dollars during a season. Last year's top angler earned just shy of $40,000.
Fish must be at least 9 inches long and must be caught in the lower Columbia River, from the mouth to Priest Rapids Dam, and in the Snake River from the mouth to Hells Canyon Dam.
How to take part: Participants must register at one of the registration stations each day before fishing. The catch must be turned in each day to get a reward voucher.
Information: Learn about fishing for northern pikeminnow and the rewards by calling the Washington Sport Reward Hot Line at 1-800-858-9015 or visiting www.pikeminnow.org. For voucher information, call 1-800-769-9362.
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