You can help save salmon and get paid to do it by going fishing! The Pikeminnow Sport Reward Fishery Program, funded by the Bonneville Power Administration, pays anglers for each northern pikeminnow that they catch that is nine inches or larger. Rewards range from $4 to $8 per fish, and special tagged fish are worth $500.
The program operates from May 1 to September 30, 2011 in the lower Columbia River (mouth to Priest Rapids Dam) and the Snake River (mouth to Hells Canyon Dam).
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.
BPA funds the program to partially mitigate for the impact of the Columbia River hydroelectric system on salmon. Results indicate the program is successful. Since 1990, over 3.7 million northern pikeminnow have been removed by the Sport Reward Fishery. Predation on juvenile salmonids has been cut by an estimated 40%.
WHAT IS A NORTHERN PIKEMINNOW?
The common name of the northern squawfish has been changed to northern pikeminnow by the American Fisheries Society.
The northern pikeminnow is a large member of the minnow family native to the Pacific slope of Western North America. Formerly known as "northern squawfish", the name was changed to northern pikeminnow by the American Fisheries Society in 1998. It has a long snout with a large mouth extending back to the eye. The body is dark green or dusky green above and silvery or creamy white below, with clear fins. Northern pikeminnow are similar in shape to the non-native walleye, but lacks the walleye's obvious teeth and spiny fin rays.
The northern pikeminnow of the Columbia river is not the same as the threatened Colorado pikeminnow. They are two distinct species.
The northern pikeminnow is occasionally mistaken for a peamouth. Click here for tips on how to tell the difference between these two native species of the Columbia river.
A printable Sucker-Minnow Identification Guide can also be found at this link.
THE 2011 NORTHERN PIKEMINNOW SEASON
The 2011 season for the sport-reward fishery will start at all stations on May 1, 2011. The season will end September 30, 2011.
For every qualifying northern pikeminnow 9 inches or longer returned to a registration station, anglers will receive $4-$8. The more fish an angler catches, the more they're worth: the first 100 in one season are worth $4 each; after 100, they're worth $5 each; and after 400 they're worth $8 each. Special tagged northern pikeminnow will be worth $500 again this year.
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HOW TO REGISTER AND CHECK IN FISH:
Anglers must register each day before they fish. (See RULES AND REGULATIONS for complete official rules)
Anglers may only register at one station each calendar day, and must re-register for each day they plan to fish.
Registration forms are available 24 hrs a day; at a registration site from a technician during posted operation hours, or after hours from the station nightbox.
Registration forms from a nightbox are date-stamped for submitting fish caught the following day.
Fish caught while registered at a station must be returned to that station, during its hours of operation, on the date stamped on the registration form.
When an angler submits fish for payment, they may also register for the next calendar day. Again, all anglers must register for each day they plan to fish.
CHECKING IN FISH
Anglers may only submit fish for payment at the station where they registered for that day.
Anglers may only submit fish for payment during that station´s posted hours of operation.
Vouchers will be issued by the technician for qualifying northern pikeminnow 9 inches or larger.
Anglers who do not register at a station prior to fishing may not submit fish for rewards.
MAILING A VOUCHER
Anglers must sign and fully complete their address, personal information and social security number on their voucher, and mail it to the reward payment address. Pre-addressed envelopes are available.
Vouchers must be received no later than Nov. 15, 2011 to receive a reward payment.
Disputed vouchers, or a voucher-receipt issued by a technician, must have the dispute resolved by the program biologist no later than Nov. 15, 2011 or the voucher or receipt becomes null and void.
No vouchers from a prior year will be paid after the Nov. 15th deadline for the year it was issued.
Checks will be mailed in a timely manner once vouchers have been received.
MAILING SPECIAL TAG VOUCHERS
A special tag voucher will be issued for any qualifying pikeminnow that displays an external spaghetti tag marked by the sport reward program.
All registration and check-in rules above also apply to specially tagged fish.
Anglers must mail special tagged vouchers to the address which is printed on the tag voucher in the envelope provided, along with the external tag.
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will authenticate all tags submitted for payment before forwarding them on to the pikeminnow payment office.
Qualifying special tagged fish are paid at $500 each.
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Last Modified: Monday, 02-May-2011 08:59:48 PDT