The Northern Pikeminnow Sport Reward Fishery Program has come to an end, and here are the final catches and what occurred along the Columbia River during the last week of fishing.
The harvest total between Sept. 26-30 was 3,895 pikeminnow for 457 anglers with a catch average of 8.5 fish per angler and five tags recovered. There was one tagged fish for every 779 pikeminnow caught.
The final season total was 27,759 anglers with 225,226 fish for 8.1 per rod average and 228 tags recovered.
The best catches during the final week of fishing occurred at Gleason with 36.3 fish per rod for 10 anglers with 363 fish; Ridgefield with 17.2 for six with 103; Boyer Park with 14.2 for 59 with 840; Cascade Locks with 12.9 for 19 with 245; and Chinook Landing with 12.2 for 18 with 219.
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The most effort this season occurred in The Dalles with 3,519 anglers catching 41,482 fish for 11.8 per angler and 26 tags recovered. The runner-up was Boyer Park with 3,226 anglers catching 37,320 fish for 11.6 and 14 tags recovered, and third place went to Columbia Point with 2,299 anglers catching 15,811 fish for 6.9 and seven tags receovred.
The highest catch rate average this season went to Bingen with a 12.9 fish per rod average; The Dalles was second at 11.8; Boyer Park with 11.6; Cascade Locks with 11.0; and Ridgefield with 10.7.
In 2015, the catch total was 200,213 reward-size northern pikeminnow during a 23-week field season. Catches were 36,155 fish higher than 2014, and up from the 1991 to 2014 annual harvest average of 173,317 fish.
Catches in 2015 was up from 2014 at 14 of the 20 registration stations. The Boyer Park registration station reclaimed the title of the top producing location for the first time since 2010 as anglers harvested 36,037 northern pikeminnow, equaling 18 percent of total 2015 catch. The Dalles registration station – the 2016 top spot – took second place in 2015 with 27,353 northern pikeminnow caught.
Northern pikeminnow, a large member of the minnow family, are known to eat millions of young salmon and steelhead, and other fish like bass, walleye and shad in the Columbia and Snake rivers each year.
There is a reward program s held annually from May 1 through Sept. 30 and offers a bounty on fish measuring 9 inches or longer.
The more northern pikeminnow an angler catches, the more the fish are worth. The first 25 are worth $5 each; after 25 they are worth $6 each, and after 200 fish they are worth $8 each. As an added incentive, specially tagged fish are worth $500.
Only fish caught from the Columbia mouth to Priest Rapids Dam, and from the Snake mouth to Hells Canyon Dam are eligible.
There are 19 check stations along both rivers. Anglers must register each day before fishing.
Catches must be checked in at the station each day, and reward vouchers will be given. For details, call 800-858-9015 or visit www.pikeminnow.org.