One angler had a very profitable summer.
The top earner in the Northern Pikeminnow Sport Reward program caught 8,686 of the salmon-eating fish and turned them in for rewards totaling $71,049.
The top 20 anglers participating in the program this year averaged $29,000 each for pikeminnow.
In total, participating anglers earned more than $1.4 million.
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They turned in pikeminnow they caught that were at least nine inches long on the Columbia River from the mouth up to Priest Rapids Dam and the Snake River from the mouth to Hells Canyon Dam from May through September.
The program, funded by the Bonneville Power Administration, rewards anglers with $5 to $8 a fish, with some tagged fish earning rewards of $500 each.
Northern pikeminnow are voracious eaters, consuming millions of young salmon and steelhead every year.
This year’s reward program was responsible for removing 180,271 pikeminnow from the river.
The program is credited by BPA with reducing predation of young salmon and steelhead by up to 40 percent, allowing more salmon and steelhead juveniles make it to the ocean.
It is not intended to eliminate northern pikeminnow, but rather to reduce the average size and curtail the number of larger, older fish.
More information is posted at www.pikeminnow.org.