In the 2023 Northern Pikeminnow Sport Reward Program, a top angler netted over $100k by removing just over ten thousand pikeminnow, while the runner-up earned $98k for 9,700 fish. This annual conservation bounty initiative, operating in the lower Columbia River and funded by the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), runs from May 1 to September 30, offering substantial rewards to anglers who help reduce pikeminnow—a species that preys on salmon and steelhead smolt. Critics argue that the program focuses on the wrong issue, diverting attention from the impact of BPA’s dams along the Lower Snake River on native fish species.
No matter your perspective, this program is unquestionably one of the most lucrative ways to catch unwanted fish. In 2023, anglers earned $6 per fish for their first 25 qualifying (9-inch-plus) catches of the season. Between 25 and 200 fish, the rate was $8 each, and beyond 200, they earned $10 each. Specially tagged fish could yield anglers rewards ranging from $200 to $500.
This year’s bounties matched the 2022 rates, which were increased by the BPA to boost program participation. Take a look at the full story from Field & Stream News Editor Sage Marshall by clicking here.