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June 02, 2004
Contact: Eric Winther, (360) 906-6749
Pikeminnow anglers earning higher rewards
VANCOUVER– Anglers who fish for northern pikeminnow in the Columbia and Snake rivers are finding their efforts more lucrative than usual, due to an increased incentive offered by the Bonneville Power Administration’s (BPA) Northern Pikeminnow Sport-Reward Fishery Program.
As of May 31, the program offers anglers who harvest and turn in the predatory fish $5 each for the first 100 northern pikeminnow (up from $4 each); $6 each for 101 to 400 pikeminnow (up from $5 each); and $8 each for pikeminnow in excess of 400 fish (up from $6 each), said Eric Winther, northern pikeminnow project leader for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). Northern pikeminnow marked with “spaghetti” monitoring tags behind the dorsal fin will now be worth $500 (up from $100).
The BPA-funded fishery, now in its fourteenth season, is implemented by WDFW. The program pays recreational anglers to harvest northern pikeminnow nine inches or larger from the lower Columbia River between the mouth and Priest Rapids Dam, and on the Snake River from the mouth to Hell’s Canyon Dam.
Aimed at reducing the number of pikeminnow that prey on salmon, the reward fishery is part of BPA’s salmon-enhancement work under the 1980 Pacific Northwest Power Act.
“ River conditions in the lower Columbia River have been very good for fishers so far this season and many anglers have found excellent fishing, especially below The Dalles Dam,” Winther said. “Anglers there have harvested more than 16,000 fish over the past four weeks and the traditional peak of our season is still three or four weeks away. We want to remind people that this is a great way to help salmon and make a little money too.”
More information on the Northern Pikeminnow Sport-Reward Fishery Program is available by calling the pikeminnow hotline at 1-800-858-9015, or visiting the program’s web site at www.pikeminnow.org on the Internet. The website offers a map of the program area, locations and hours of operation for registrations stations, and complete rules for participation.