Anglers can once again make money catching predatory pikeminnows in the Columbia and Snake rivers.
The Northern Pikeminnow Sport Reward Program opened May 1. It will run through Sept. 30.
Pikeminnows prey on young salmon and steelhead. That’s why the Bonneville Power Administration started the reward program offering between $5 and $8 for each northern pikeminnow caught from the Columbia and Snake rivers.
As an extra incentive wildlife biologists released 1,000 tagged northern pikeminoows into the Columbia and Snake rivers. Each tagged fish is worth $500.
The top angler in 2017 caught 10,000 fish. The top 20 anglers earned on average $30,000. And while high seeming, those numbers are down from last year. In 2016, the top angler earned $119,341 and the top angler in 2015 earned more than $100,000.
The season opens May 1 and runs through Sept. 30. Pikeminnows can be caught for a reward in the Clarkston, Washington area and at Boyer Park on the Snake River near Pullman.
Since 1990 anglers in the program have removed more than 4.8 million pikeminnow from the Columbia and Snake rivers. According to a news release from the Bonneville Power Administration the program has reduced predation young salmon and steelhead by approximately 40 percent since 1990.
During the first week of the 2018 reward program about 677 Ppikeminnow were caught.
For more information about the program, call 800-858-9015 or visit www.pikeminnow.org