Here is the weekly update on the Northern Pikeminnow Sport Reward Fishery Program happening on the Columbia River.
The harvest total from Sept. 17-23 was 8,397 pikeminnow (7,142 the prior week) from 611 anglers (683 the prior week) for a catch average of 13.7 fish per angler (up from the prior week of 10.5) with seven tags recovered (five the prior week).
There was one tagged fish for every 1,400 pikeminnow caught Sept. 17-23.
Year to date totals of 22,326 anglers with 149,379 fish, and catch average of 6.7 fish per rod with 182 tags recovered.
The best catches this past week have occurred at Beacon Rock with 49.0 fish per rod; Gleason with 36.6; Kalama with 26.8; Ridgefield with 25.1; Rainier with 22.5; and Greenbelt with 20.7.
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.
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)