You can help save salmon and get paid to do it by going fishing! The Pikeminnow Sport Reward Fishery Program, funded by the Bonneville Power Administration and administered by the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, is annually in effect on the Columbia and Snake rivers from May 1st through September 30th. Anglers are paid for each northern pikeminnow that they catch that is nine inches or larger, and the more fish you catch, the higher the reward. Rewards begin at $5 each for the first 25 northern pikeminnow caught during the season. Anglers earn $6 each for fish #26-200, and $8 each for every fish caught above 200. Specially tagged northern pikeminnow continue to be worth $500.
The program operates from May 1 to September 30, 2015 in the lower Columbia River (mouth to Priest Rapids Dam) and the Snake River (mouth to Hells Canyon Dam).
Northern pikeminnow eat millions of salmon and steelhead juveniles each year in the Columbia and Snake River systems. The goal of the program is not to eliminate northern pikeminnow, but rather to reduce the average size and curtail the number of larger older fish. Reducing the number of these predators can greatly help the salmon and steelhead juveniles making it out to sea.
In 2014, the top twenty anglers caught an average of about 3,526 fish per angler and averaged reward payments of $28,609 each for the 5 month season. The highest paid angler in 2014 earned $73,698. BPA funds the program to partially mitigate for the impact of the federal Columbia River hydroelectric system on salmon. Results indicate the program is successful. Since 1990, over 4.2 million northern pikeminnow have been removed by the Sport Reward Fishery. Predation on juvenile salmonids has been cut by an estimated 40%.
(View 2014 weekly reports)