A fishing trip that pays for itself

Staff reportJune 6, 2014 

The Bonneville Power Administration pays anglers for catching pikeminnows as part of its work to improve salmon runs harmed by federal hydroelectric dams. This year’s payment program runs through Sept. 30 in the lower Columbia River and the Snake River.

RICHARD DICKIN/TRI-CITY HERALD FILE, 2007

If you would like to earn some cash for the fish you catch, you don’t have to enter a salmon derby and hope for good luck. You can take part in the pikeminnow reward fishery, taking place now on the Columbia River.

This year’s payment schedule is $4 per fish for the first 100 fish; $5 per fish for 101-400 fish, and $8 per fish for 401 fish and above. The reward for a tagged fish is $500 per fish.

Funded by the Bonneville Power Administration, the program will run through Sept. 30 in the lower Columbia River (mouth to Priest Rapids Dam) and the Snake River (mouth to Hells Canyon Dam).

Northern pikeminnows eat millions of salmon and steelhead juveniles each year in both systems. The goal is to reduce the average size and curtail the number of larger, older fish.

Last year, the top 20 anglers averaged about 3,200 fish, with average reward payments of $26,000.

To learn more, go to pikeminnow.org.

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