Hard-Working Angler Nets $107,800 For Pulling Northern Pikeminnow Out Of Columbia River Under Reward Program

The final winner in the Northern Pikeminnow Sport Reward Fishery Program this year received a whopping $107,800 for their efforts to catch the aggressive predator of juvenile salmon and steelhead. Even the second-place angler received nearly $100,000 in winnings with a total catch of 9,786 pikeminnow.

It was the first time since 2016 an angler has eclipsed the $100K threshold and the third time since 2000. The 23-year average for the top angler is 7,707 pikeminnow, amounting to about $63,000.

The program, funded by the Bonneville Power Administration and administered by Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission and the states of Oregon and Washington, pays anglers for catching northern pikeminnow measuring nine inches or longer. Rewards pay $6 per fish for the first 25, $8 for the next 200 and $10 for catches 201 or higher. For the fortunate angler who catches a tagged pikeminnow, they can expect to receive between $200 – $500 per tagged fish.

Northern pikeminnows are a predator of juvenile salmon and steelhead, consuming millions each year. The program’s objective is not to eliminate northern pikeminnow, but rather, reduce the average size and curtail the number of larger, older fish.

BPA says this reduction in predatory fish can aid the survival of juvenile salmon and steelhead as they migrate to the Pacific Ocean. BPA funds the program, among others, to partially mitigate the impact of the Federal Columbia River Power System on salmon and steelhead.

In addition to the impressive $107,800 top award, the 2023 season saw an increase of angler participation thanks partly to the new Pikeminnow Registration mobile app, available on both the Google Play Store and Apple Store). Released in 2022, it allows anglers to bypass the daily in-person sign ups at registration stations and focus more time on the water catching northern pikeminnow.

According to Eric Winther, Pikeminnow Program Manager at Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, achieving program success “is totally dependent on angler (public) participation, and the app allows current participants easier access to the SRF and attracts new anglers wanting a simpler registration process.”

Overall, the 2023 the program can claim a successful season, especially coming out of the pandemic. Here is a summary of the 2023 season:

A catch increase of 12% from 2022.

An increase of 13% in overall participation from 2022.

The number of individual anglers increased 34% from 2022.

The app generated more than 3,700 downloads in 2023.

31% of angler registrations were done via the app.

41% of all anglers used the app.

For more information about the Northern Pikeminnow Sport Reward Fishery, visit www.pikeminnow.org

or call 1-800-858-9015. The website contains additional details on how to register, as well as applicable state fishing regulations. Anglers will find resources on the site, including fishing maps, how-to videos, and free fishing clinics, to help boost their pikeminnow fishing knowledge to have better fishing success.

Also see:

–CBB, Oct. 26, 2023, SCIENTISTS REVIEW PIKEMINNOW REMOVAL REWARDS PROGRAM; DECREASE IN ABUNDANCE CONCURRENT WITH BASS, WALLEYE INCREASE? https://cbbulletin.com/scientists-review-pikeminnow-removal-rewards-program-decrease-in-abundance-concurrent-with-bass-walleye-increase/

–CBB, Sept. 23, 2023, STUDY ANALYZES NON-NATIVE WARMWATER FISH CONSUMPTION OF JUVENILE SALMON IN RESERVOIRS; WALLEYE PREDATION MUCH HIGHER THAN NATIVE PIKEMINNO https://cbbulletin.com/study-analyzes-non-native-warmwater-fish-consumption-of-juvenile-salmon-in-reservoirs-walleye-predation-much-higher-than-native-pikeminnow/

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