It’s hard to believe that anyone can make a decent living catching small fish on hook and line, but a few Pacific Northwest anglers are managing it.
They’re catching ‘northern pikeminnows.’ I put the name in quotes because, in the years before political correctness came into vogue, the species was known as squawfish. The PC crowd changed the name.
Pikeminnows eat young salmon, and salmon are important to the Pacific Northwest’s economy, so the Bonneville Power Administration pays fishermen $4 to $8 for every pikeminnow caught and killed.
The Associated Press had the following wrap-up on this year’s pikeminnow catch,one that makes me want to move to Oregon and invest in pikeminnow tackle:
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A program to reduce the numbers of a salmon-eating pest called the northern pikeminnow paid $1.2 million to Northwest fishermen who assisted the effort this year.The Bonneville Power Administration funds the program, which earned one fisherman more than $81,000 during the six-month pikeminnow season.
The BPA said just over 173,000 pikeminnow were caught, helping to increase survival rates for young salmon and steelhead.
Fishermen get paid $4 to $8 for northern pikeminnow 9 inches and larger caught in the lower Columbia and Snake rivers. The more pikeminnow caught, the more the program pays. As an added incentive, specially tagged fish are worth $500.
The annual program opened May 1 and was originally scheduled to close Sept. 30 but was extended 10 days this year.