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Fisherman Rewarded With $100K Bounty for Catching Invasive Species This Summer

by Eben Diskin Oct 27, 2023

The beauty of fishing is there doesn’t need to be an ultimate goal. You go out on the water, crack a beer, watch your line, and hope to reel something in. If you don’t, at least you got a nice relaxing day outdoors. Turns out, there’s more in it for the expert angler than just some time outside, and the chance to take a photo with a really big fish. One fisherman actually earned $100,000 for catching 10,127 pikeminnow in the lower Columbia River.

It’s all part of the Northern Pikeminnow Sport Reward Program, a conservation initiative, funded by the Bonneville Power Administration, designed to encourage fishermen to rid the river of the invasive pikeminnow species. The program runs each summer from May 1 to September 30 with the aim of ridding the water of pikeminnow, which prey on salmon and steelhead smolt. Anglers are rewarded with $6 per fish for the first 25 (9-inch-plus), $8 for the next 25 to 200, and $10 for every fish over 200. Some specially tagged fish even gave fishermen a shot at earning $200 to $500.

The top fisherman this year earned the second-most of any angler in the program’s history, falling just shy of a fisherman who made $119,341 in 2016 (for catching 14,000 pikeminnow). Since the BPA doesn’t release the names of fishermen who participate, both winners remain anonymous.

In total, 156,505 pikeminnows were removed from the river in 2023, proving the tremendous success of the program.

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