Want to get paid cash for catching fish? If so, get yourself down to the Columbia and Snake River and start casting for pikeminnow.
The Bonneville Power Administration's Northern Pikeminnow Sport Reward Program gives anglers a chance to collect $5 to $8 for every pikeminnow they catch that is nine inches or larger. This is because this nuisance species preys heavily on juvenile salmon and steelhead.
"Northern Pikeminnow eat millions of salmon and steelhead juveniles each year in the Columbia and Snake River systems. The goal of the program is not to eliminate Northern Pikeminnow, but rather to reduce the average size and curtail the number of larger, older fish. Reducing the number of these predators can greatly help the salmon and steelhead juveniles making it out to sea."
The bounty is in effect for five months each year and it can be very lucrative. One lucky angler cashed in to the tune of $84,000 for the 10,000 fish he caught. If you think that's incredible, 2016's top earner took home $119,341.
1,100 registered users accounted for the removal of 191,483 pikeminnow from the two river systems in 2017. In total, Bonneville Power Administration paid out $1,542,000 to those anglers, with the top 20 earning an average of $30,000 each.
Here's some background on the program:
The bounty program began back in 1990, and since that time, anglers have removed 4.8 million pikeminnow, resulting in 40 percent less predation on salmon and steelhead.
The 2018 season runs May 1-Sept. 30. To learn more about the program, visit http://www.pikeminnow.org/.
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