Northern pikeminnows eat millions of juvenile salmon and steelhead each year
An Oregon fisherman has earned more than $100,000 by helping capture and remove thousands of problematic fish in the state’s rivers.
The Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC) said the angler caught 10,755 pikeminnows during the season from May through September.
The angler who caught the second-highest number of pikeminnows (9,786) received $99,110 in bounties.
The Northern Pikeminnow Sport Reward Program is funded by the Bonneville Power Administration and administered by the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission. It pays anglers for each pikeminnow that they catch that is 9 inches or larger. Rewards range from $6 to $10 per fish, and special tagged fish are worth $200 to $500 a piece.
According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, northern pikeminnows eat millions of salmon and steelhead juveniles each year in the Columbia and Snake River systems. The program’s goal is not to eliminate northern pikeminnow, but to reduce the average size and number of larger, older fish to help the salmon and steelhead juveniles make it out to sea.
A total of 156,505 pikeminnows were caught by 11,954 anglers in the 2023 season.
"Harvest was very close to the 32-year average of 160,000 and effort increased by more than 10 percent," Eric Winther, program manager, told Northwest Sportsman Magazine.