Here is the weekly update on the Northern Pikeminnow Sport Reward Fishery Program happening on the Columbia River.
The harvest total from Sept. 23-29 was 6,156 pikeminnow (compared to 6,363 the week before) from 408 anglers (517) for a catch average of 15.1 fish per angler up from 12.3 the previous week with two tags recovered (thr).
There was one tagged fish for every 3,078 pikeminnow caught (one for every 2,121 the week before).
The harvest season total is 161,401 pikeminnow from 20,030 anglers for a catch average of 8.1 fish per angler with 160 tags recovered.
The best catches this past week occurred at PortCo (Marine Park) with 49.5 fish per rod; Kalama with 48.0; Beacon Rock with 43.0; Washougal with 42.9; and Ridgefield with 35.5.
Highest angler effort area for the season so far is Lyon’s Ferry for 404 anglers with 6,626 fish for 16.4. The most effort and highest catch has occurred at The Dalles with 3,408 anglers with 26,339 fish for 7.7 and 27 tags recovered; and Columbia Point with 2,221 anglers with 15,167 fish for 6.8 and 24 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.
There is a reward program that ended on Sept. 30, which offers a bounty on fish measuring 9 inches or longer. The 2014 bounty season will begin sometime in spring.
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 www.pikeminnow.org.