PORTLAND, Ore. - An angler made $84,000 in 5 months by catching 10,000 fish from Northwest rivers this year.
The Bonneville Power Administration's Northern Pikeminnow Sport Reward Program offers anglers $5 to $8 for every northern pikeminnow taken from the Columbia and Snake rivers.
The pikeminnow preys on young salmon and steelhead.
"The program's goal is to reduce the number of pikeminnow that prey heavily on juvenile salmon," said Makary Hutson, BPA project manager. "Annual harvest rate estimates, which are calculated using data from tagged fish caught by anglers, indicate the 2017 season met our program targets, which directly benefits juvenile salmon making their way to the ocean."
In 2017, the 1,100 registered anglers removed 191,483 of fish between May 1 and September 30.
All told, Bonneville paid out $1,542,000 this year.
In addition to the per fish bounty, state fish and wildlife biologists also release more than 1,000 tagged northern pikeminnow worth $500 apiece.
The Top 20 anglers earned an average of $30,000 each this year.
And then there's that industrious angler who reeled in 10,000 of the fish, bringing in nearly $84,000.
That was actually a step down from past years. In 2016, the top angler caught $119,341 worth of pikeminnow. The top angler in 2015 caught over $100,000 worth of the fish.
The 2018 season opens May 1 and runs through September 30.
You can learn more by calling 800-858-9015 or visit www.pikeminnow.org
Since 1990, anglers have removed more than 4.8 million pikeminnow from the Columbia and Snake rivers, according to Bonneville. "The program has reduced predation on young salmon and steelhead by up to 40 percent since it began," according to Bonneville.