Big Money Small Fish: $70,000 Awarded for Pikeminnow Catches


Senior Fisheman
Jan 10, 2009
Craig, Colorado
Best Catch
Big Money Small Fish: $70,000 Awarded for Pikeminnow Catches

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has released the numbers for last year’s Pikeminnow reward program. The top placing angler spent their summer last year from May to September targeting the northern pikeminnow and netted themself nearly $70,000 in bounties. The top earning angler in the Northern Pikeminnow Sport Reward Program was rewarded with $69,230 for the Northern Pikeminnows they turned in. The second-place angler netted themself a cool $63,700 in bounties for the pikeminnows they turned in. The pikeminnow bounties given out last year were higher than they had been in 2021. This was because the reward program raised the bounties per turned-in fish, going from $5 per fish up to $6 per fish. This year the program paid $6 each for the first 25 pikeminnows. Then paid $8 each for 26 to 200 pikeminnows and $10 for each fish after the first 200 fish turned in during the season.

Surprisingly enough the Northern Pikeminnow (Ptychocheilus oregonensis) isn’t an invasive species in these river systems. Instead, they are just outcompeting the pressured salmon and steelhead populations. Because they are not normally not targeted they in general unpressured so the pikeminnows thrive. The larger pikeminnows eat millions of juvenile salmon and steelhead each year as they migrate downstream to the sea. So to combat this the Pikeminnow Program was made to help shift the average size of the pikeminnows. The goal is to remove about 10 to 20 percent of the larger fish in the population, these larger pikeminnows are the main predators of the smolt. So with a smaller average size, the predation wouldn’t be that bad in the future.

Over the past ten years (2011-20), the top 20 anglers caught an average of 3,353 fish per angler and averaged reward payments of $27,836 each for the five-month season. The highest-paid angler in 2020 caught 5,579 fish and earned $48,501, while the all-time record harvest is 14,109 Northern Pikeminnow worth $119,341!

To see more information about this program and possibly make yourself some money for fishing this summer check them out here

The post Big Money Small Fish: $70,000 Awarded for Pikeminnow Catches appeared first on OutdoorHub.

Continue reading...