Here is the weekly update on the Northern Pikeminnow Sport Reward Fishery Program happening on the Columbia River.
The harvest total from July 25-31 was 7,086 pikeminnow (9,672 the prior week) from 1,210 anglers (1,382 the prior week) for a catch average of 5.9 fish per angler (down from the prior week of 7.0) with 11 tags recovered (six the prior week).
Year to date totals of 15,761 anglers with 88,999 fish, and catch average of 5.6 fish per rod with 111 tags recovered.
Northern pikeminnow, a large member of the minnow family, are known to eat millions of young salmon and steelhead, and other fish like bass, walleye and shad in the Columbia and Snake rivers each year.
Last year’s total catch was 173,981 fish on 25,271 angler trips.
There is a reward program through Sept. 30 that offers a bounty on fish measuring 9 inches or longer.
The more northern pikeminnow an angler catches, the more the fish are worth. The first 100 are worth $4 each; the next 300 are worth $5 each, and after 400 fish are caught and turned in, they are worth $8 each. As an added incentive, specially tagged fish are worth $500.
Only fish caught from the Columbia mouth to Priest Rapids Dam, and from the Snake mouth to Hells Canyon Dam are eligible.
There are 21 check stations along both rivers. Anglers must register each day before fishing.
Catches must be checked in at the station each day, and reward vouchers will be given. For details, call 800-858-9015 or visit the Pikeminnow Reward Program website.
(Photo courtesy of the Seattle Times Photo Department)