Pikeminnow Reward Season
by Henry Miller
Through the first week, The Dalles Pool was the hot ticket for anglers fishing the Northern Pikeminnow Sport Reward Program with 218 registered anglers checking in almost 1,000 fish.
The reward program pays $4 a fish for the first 100 fish turned in at check stations on the Columbia River, $5 a fish for 101 to 400 fish, and $8 each for 401 or more. Pikeminnow must be at least 9 inches, and all fishing regulations about licensing are in effect.
In addition, a number of pikeminnow have been fitted with reward tags worth $500 each.
Sponsored by the Bonneville Power Administration and the Oregon and Washington departments of Fish and Wildlife, the reward program is designed to knock back populations -- not eliminate them -- of the predatory natives that feast on juvenile salmon and steelhead smolts.
The reward season opened May 1 and continues through Sept. 30 on the Columbia and some tributaries.
The program has proven to be lucrative for several Portland-area anglers.
During 2011, the top angler, Nicolay Zaremskiy of Gresham, took home $66,487 -- including turning in two $500 reward tags. In 2010, Zaremskiy earned $51,000 from the reward program.
Rules, maps and lists of check stations and tips for finding and catching pikeminnow are online at the program website.
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