The top earner in this year's Northern Pikeminnow Sport Reward Fishery Program this year earned $81,366 for catching the salmon-eating fish, according to the Bonneville Power Administration.
The program paid out $1.2 million to anglers who caught a total of 173,112 pikeminnow this year in a season from May 1 to Oct. 10.
The program provides cash for catching pikeminnow, a member of the minnow family, in the Columbia and Snake rivers. Pikeminnow eat young salmon and steelhead, and the program is intended to reduce the predator population.
Anglers get paid $4 to $8 for northern pikeminnow 9 inches and larger. They get paid per fish if they catch more. After 400 fish are turned in, pikeminnow are worth $8 each. As an added incentive, specially tagged fish are worth $500.
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The top earner this year, whose name was not disclosed, caught 13 of the tagged fish.