Fishermen reel in ‘squawfish’ on Columbia

Fishermen earn money taking squawfish

— Bonneville Power Administration paid out $1.54 million this year to fishermen hauling squawfish out of the Columbia and Snake rivers.

According to the agency, 191,483 northern pikeminnows — commonly referred to as squawfish — were pulled out of the rivers.

The power agency pays fishermen a bounty on the predator that feasts on young salmon and steelhead.

Approximately 1,100 people registered for the program, which runs from May 1 through Sept. 30.

“The program’s goal is to reduce the number of pikeminnow that prey heavily on juvenile salmon,” Bonneville Project Manager Makary Hutson said. “Annual harvest rate estimates, which are calculated using data from tagged fish caught by anglers, indicate the 2017 season met our program targets, which directly benefits juvenile salmon making their way to the ocean.”

The reward program pays registered anglers $5 to $8 per fish, 9 inches or longer.

The more fish an angler catches during the season, the more each one is worth.

State fish and wildlife biologists also release more than 1,000 specially tagged northern pikeminnow, each worth $500.


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