Fish posse pulls in big dollars on the Columbia and Snake rivers turning salmon killers into chicken food
Top performers in a northwest “fish posse” have been paid some big dollars for rounding up a kind of fish that preys on prize salmon stocks. The Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC) has written checks to a number of fishermen who target Northern Pikeminnow that feed voraciously on young salmon. The top fisherman in 2011 won $66,478; next in line won $60,742. Anglers also caught 156 pikeminnows that were specially tagged worth up to $500 each. More than 155,000 pikeminnows were caught and removed from the Columbia and Snake River systems over the past year.
Anglers get paid $4 to $8 for northern pikeminnow nine inches and longer that are caught in the lower Columbia (river mouth to Priest Rapids Dam) and Snake (river mouth to Hells Canyon Dam) rivers. The more pikeminnow an angler catches, the more the fish are worth. The annual program started May 1st and was originally scheduled to close Sept. 30, but program managers extended the season through Oct. 16th allowing anglers to catch more than 7,000 additional fish.
The PSMFC reports that more than 3 million pikeminnow have been removed from the Snake and Columbia rivers since 1991 through the sport reward program. Last year, anglers caught approximately 174,000 pikeminnow. The harvested fish are processed into fertilizer and poultry food.