Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Get paid for fishing! Oregon puts a bounty on the northern pikeminnow

I'll be honest, I'd never even heard of the northern pikeminnow until today's story about how Oregon's Bonneville Power Administration is offering bounties of $4 to $8 for catching this rather homely fish, which can reach up to two feet long. Apparently the pikeminnow is a major threat to young salmon, and has been devouring a rather sizable portion of the already endangered salmon population that spawns in the Columbia River.

Your quarry: the northern pikeminnow

The pikeminnow program has been running since 1991, during which time some anglers have racked up bounties of nearly $40,000 in a season. But to do so you'd probably need to fish dawn to dusk 7 days a week, and not mind coming home smelling like pikeminnow every day. According to the program's official site, you'll be awarded $4 per fish for the first 100 pikeminnows, $5 per fish for pikeminnows 101-400, and $8 (!) a fish for 401 fish and upwards. That's a lot of fish. And apparently they're not even good eating, having been described as bony with mushy, flavorless flesh. So they're all being ground up into fertilizer. Just think, not only will you be doing the endangered salmon a lot of good, you'll be helping provide a natural, organic, and probably extremely stinky fertilizer for America's farmers.

So, you're ready to head off to Oregon and get rich on pikeminnow bounties? First, you better make sure you know how to catch one. Here are some helpful tips from the official bounty site (or "sport reward fishery," as it prefers to be called). The good news is they don't appear to be very hard to catch. They like (a) worms and (b) chicken livers, not to mention a bunch of other common baits. So your bait costs are probably not going to be astronomical. If any pikeminnow anglers are reading and would like offer additional tips, please post 'em in the comments!


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