Northern pikeminnows are native to the Pacific Northwest and are found in most Columbia River tributaries in Washington and Oregon, where they eat millions of salmon and steelhead juveniles each year. The addition of dozens of hydroelectric dams in the Columbia and Snake rivers has created ideal habitat for pikeminnows. The bounty is offered by Bonneville Power Administration, which manages the dams and spends millions of dollars every year trying to help young salmon.
In 2022, rewards begin at $6 each for the first 25 Northern Pikeminnow caught during the season. Anglers are paid $8 for each fish they catch from 26-200, and $10 for every fish caught over 200 cumulatively. Biologists estimate more than 5.1 million pikeminnows have been removed from the two rivers since the bounty program began in 1990.
Eric Winther, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Columbia River Predator Control Program project leader said:
These tools will make it more convenient for people to participate, particularly those who don’t live near a pikeminnow registration station. Currently, people have to drive to a station and fill out paperwork before heading out to fish. Registering online or through the app means they can go directly to the river, spend more time fishing and make one trip to the station to turn in their catch.
Last year, one angler was paid $61,000 for the northern pikeminnow he caught in the Columbia and Snake rivers last summer while the most anyone has ever made in a season is $119,000.
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