OLYMPIA – Anglers fishing for northern pikeminnow on the Columbia and Snake rivers will have two additional weeks to redeem their catch for cash rewards at registration stations staffed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
High catch rates in recent weeks have persuaded department officials to extend the reward fishery – designed to reduce the number of northern pikeminnow in both river systems – through Oct. 14, said Eric Winther, WDFW project leader. Northern pikeminnow are voracious predators of young salmon.
“Our mission is to remove a portion of the largest northern pikeminnow from these waters, and fishing is very good right now,” Winther said. “That’s why we’re extending the reward period.”
Depending on how many they catch, anglers participating in the program earn $4 to $8 for each northern pikeminnow measuring at least 9 inches. In addition, specially tagged fish are worth $500. So far this year, anglers participating in the program have caught more than 160,000 northern pikeminnow, earning nearly $1 million in rewards, Winther said.
Funding for the program is provided by the Bonneville Power Administration under the Pacific Northwest Power Act. For more information, call the Pikeminnow Hotline at 1-800-858-9015 or check the website at http://www.pikeminnow.org.