Go Fishing and Earn Some Cash.
by Annette Cary
Tri-Cities anglers can get a jump on the annual northern pikeminnow program, which offers cash for the fish they catch and turn in.
Last year the top earner in the program was rewarded with nearly $50,000. He caught 5,579 pikeminnow in the Columbia and Snake rivers.
The northern pikeminnow sport reward program begins May 1 everywhere but in the Tri-Cities area. Here it starts earlier this year because of the good prospects for catching the fish locally in April.
The season starts Monday, April 19, for people who register at the Columbia Point park station in Richland and fish within program boundaries above McNary Dam.
"Historically, large numbers of northern pikeminnow congregate near the mouth of the Yakima River early in the year," said Eric Winther with the Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife. "We believe this early opener may provide anglers with some great harvests before those fish disperse from the area later in the season."
The payment for registered anglers is the same as last year, $5 to $8 for each pikeminnow that is at least 9 inches long.
The more fish an angler catches, the more each pikeminnow is worth. In addition, some fish are tagged with bonuses worth $500.
Northern pikeminnow are voracious eaters, consuming millions of young salmon and steelhead each year.
Since the Bonneville Power Administration began paying for the program in 1990, the number of young salmon and steelhead devoured by pikeminnow has decreased about 40%.
This year the Oregon and Washington departments of fish and wildlife are expanding registration beyond the 18 full-time stations that usually operate during the five-month season. Six satellite stations will operate in areas with good fishing during short windows of time.
Anglers must register every day before they fish for pikeminnow to be paid for their catch.
Full details of the program -- including where to register, tips for catching pikeminnow and a $10 bonus coupon for providing your email -- are posted at pikeminnow.org.
$71,000. That's 1 Angler's Reward for Fishing the Columbia and Snake Last Summer by Annette Cary, Tri-City Herald, 12/17/18
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