Pikeminnow Season Opens on Columbiaby Staff
The Hillsboro Argus, May 9, 2006
Fishing in the Columbia and Snake rivers this spring and summer could be very rewarding for those who pursue the northern pikeminnow. The Northern Pikeminnow Management Program will pay $4 to $8 for each of the salmon-eating predators delivered by fishers to stations along the Columbia and Snake rivers.
The 2006 sport reward program for northern pikeminnow opened May 1 on the Columbia River below John Day Dam east of Biggs. The season opened 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.
The program is designed to reduce the number of mature pikeminnow in the lower Columbia and lower Snake rivers. These larger fish thrive by devouring juvenile salmon.
Since 1990, fishing has removed nearly 2.7 million northern pikeminnow. Last year alone, nearly 300,000 of the predators were turned in for reward, saving thousands of juvenile salmon. 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 bring $4 each.
The next 300 are worth $5 each, and after 400 are turned in, they're worth $8 each. As an added incentive, specially tagged fish released into the rivers will garner $500 each. Anglers have averaged several hundred dollars during a season; the top 20 have made from $15,000 to nearly $35,000 by fishing for pikeminnow.
To be credited, fish must be at least 9 inches long and must be caught in the lower Columbia River (mouth to Priest Rapids Dam) and Snake River (mouth to Hells Canyon Dam). Program participants must register in person at one of the registration stations each day prior to fishing. The catch must be turned in each day and reward vouchers are issued for qualified fish.
The northern pikeminnow caught are not going to waste. They go into agriculture as liquid organic fertilizer and as fish meal in feed for poultry and cattle.
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