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Pikeminnow Rewards are Back

by Mark Yuasa
Seattle Times, May 7, 2006

Looking for a way to earn some bucks while fishing this spring and summer?

The northern pikeminnow reward program in the Columbia River -- below John Day Dam east of Biggs, Ore. -- has started, and pays anglers who catch the salmon-devouring predators.

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 ends Oct. 1

The reward fishery offers a bounty of $4 to $8 for each fish caught, and is designed to reduce the number of mature pikeminnow who feed heavily on juvenile salmon in the rivers.

Since 1990, fishing has removed nearly 2.7 million northern pikeminnow. Last year, almost 300,000 of the predators were turned in for reward. The program has cut juvenile salmon losses to prey by 25 percent. The more northern pikeminnow each angler catches, the more the fish are worth.

The first 100 fish [9 inches or longer] are worth $4 each; the next 300 are $5; and after 400 each fish is $8. Specially tagged fish released into the rivers will pay off $500 each.

Anglers have averaged several hundred dollars during a season. The top 20 fishers have made from $15,000 to nearly $35,000.

Participants must register in person at one of the stations along the rivers each day before fishing. The catch must be turned in daily, and reward vouchers are issued for qualified fish.

The fish caught are turned into liquid organic fertilizer, and used as fish meal in feed for poultry and cattle. Northern pikeminnow like rocky areas with fast currents near dams, islands, mouths of rivers, points, eddies, rows of pilings and ledges or bars in the river. Worms and chicken livers are popular bait, as well as fish entrails, fried chicken skin, salmon eggs, grasshoppers, crayfish tails and shrimp. Artificial items like plastic grubs, worms, tube jigs and crank baits also work well.

For details on the program, call 800-858-9015. For voucher info, call 800-769-9362 or visit

Mark Yuasa
Pikeminnow Rewards are Back
Seattle Times, May 7, 2006

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