Pikeminnow Bounty Hunt
by Scott Learn
This weekend the Columbia and Snake rivers offer anglers a chance to help salmon and steelhead, catch fish and make money.
It's the beginning of the northern pikeminnow sport reward fishery, starting for the first time on a weekend and continuing through Sept. 27.
The program, run by the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission and paid for by the Bonneville Power Administration, is designed to reduce populations of the fish, which prey on juvenile salmon and steelhead.
Anglers are paid $4 to $8 for northern pikeminnows nine inches and larger caught in the Columbia from the mouth to Priest Rapids Dam and in the Snake from the mouth to Hells Canyon Dam. The money can add up: The payment for the first 100 fish is $4 each; the next 300, $5 each; all fish above 400, $8 each. Specially tagged fish are worth $500 apiece.
Last year, anglers caught about 155,000 northern pikeminnows. Go to www.pikeminnow.org for information, including registration locations and instructions on how to catch the fish.
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