The 2021 Northern Pikeminnow Sport-Reward Fishery season has been extended through Oct. 17 at select registration stations. The reward program, in its 31st season, pays anglers to catch qualifying northern pikeminnow in the Columbia River Basin.
Anglers are paid $5 to $8 for each qualifying northern pikeminnow caught, and specially tagged fish are worth $500 each. Eligible fish are at least 9 inches long and caught according to program rules.
“Northern pikeminnow consume millions of young salmon and steelhead each year. Since 1990, anglers paid through the program have removed more than 5 million of these predators from the Columbia and Snake rivers, annually reducing predation on young salmon and steelhead by approximately 40%,” says the Bonneville Power Administration in a press release.
So far this season, anglers have caught more than 68,000 qualifying fish under the program. The two-week extension presents more opportunities to earn cash for additional catches.
“This is the time of year when catch rates are historically the highest of the season, and it’s great that we can offer people a couple of extra weeks to be rewarded for fishing,” said Eric Winther, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife project manager. “Northern pikeminnow are a primary fish predator on juvenile salmon and steelhead in the Columbia and Snake river systems, and managing these populations is a key element of predator management in the basin.”
The fishery’s regular-season check stations will be open through Sept. 30. After Sept. 30, 13 stations will remain open: Cathlamet, Willow Grove, Ridgefield, Chinook Landing, Washougal, Stevenson, The Dalles, Giles French, Columbia Point, Vernita, Boyer Park and Greenbelt.
For the most up-to-date information on stations and times, visit the Northern Pikeminnow Sport-Reward Fishery website at www.pikeminnow.org.
The reward program is funded by BPA and administered by the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission in cooperation with the Washington and Oregon departments of fish and wildlife.
— CBB, Jan. 15, 2021, DESPITE COVID-19 CHALLENGES, BPA SAYS PIKEMINNOW REWARD PROGRAM MET REMOVAL GOALS, THOUGH HARVEST 70,000 FISH BELOW AVERAGE https://cbbulletin.com/despite-covid-19-challenges-bpa-says-pikeminnow-reward-program-met-removal-goals-though-harvest-70000-fish-below-average/