The top angler caught 10,755 northern pikeminnows in the 2023 season, earning $107,800, officials said. The winnings are the second-highest earned in program history, with the top prize bringing in $119,341 in 2016, as reported by Field & Stream.
The second-highest earning angler of 2023 caught 9,786 fish for $99,110, followed by the third-place angler who caught 6,237 fish for $62,530.
The 2023 northern pikeminnow season ran May 1 through Sept. 30, awarding anglers $6 for catching 26-200 fish and $8 for catching over 201. The more fish a person catches, the more each fish is worth. There were also tagged fish worth $200 or $500.
Oregon, Washington and Idaho have offered anglers rewards for catching northern pikeminnow for decades. According to the Bonneville Power Administration, which funds the bounty program, the northern pikeminnow consumes millions of young salmon and steelhead in the Columbia and Snake rivers each year.
Officials say the goal of the sport fishing program is not to eliminate the northern pikeminnow but to reduce the average size and number of larger older fish, according to the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, which administers the program.