More than 225,000 northern pikeminnow were caught in the Columbia River basin this year as part of the sport-reward program, with the top angler catching 14,019 fish and earning $119,341.
The program pays a bounty $5 to $8 per pikeminnow that is 9 inches or longer caught in the Columbia and Snake rivers from May through September.
Based on studies in 1983-90 in the John Day reservoir, pikeminnow accounted for 78 percent of predation on young downstream-migrating salmon and steelhead.
The Bonneville Power Administration’s Northern Pikeminnow Sport Reward program paid out more than $1.76 million this year.
Steve Williams, the pikeminnow program manager with Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, said the goal is to reduce larger members of the pikeminnow population by 10 percent to 20 percent. This year’s exploitation rate has been about 11.9 percent.
Overall, the program to remove pikeminnow from the Columbia River costs BPA $3 million to $4 million each year.
Two of the program’s registration stations were in Clark County. At Ridgefield Marina, 6,706 pikeminnow were turned in for an average catch per trip of 10.7 fish. At the Port of Camas-Washougal boat ramp, 14,014 pikeminnow were brought in for an average catch of 9.7 per trip.
In Skamania County, the station at Beacon Rock State Park took in 1,536 pikeminnow, 6.6 per trip. In Klickitat County, the station at Bingen Marina took in 8,680 pikeminnow, an average of 12.9 per trip.
The top registration station was at The Dalles boat basin, where 41,482 pikeminnow were turned in, an average of 11.8 per trip.
The most pikeminnow caught in one year was 267,215 fish in 2004. Last year the catch was 200,215 fish.
The No. 2 angler in 2016 caught 6,625 pikeminnow for $55,245. The No. 20 angler caught 2,274 fish worth $18,469.