Pikeminnow catches jumped sharply over the previous week on the Columbia and Snake Rivers, with 14,540 qualifying fish brought in for the sport reward program June 19-25.
That’s the most so far for any week since fishing began May 1, and 3,500-plus fish more than the 10,950 brought in June 12-18.
Part of the surge came from The Dalles station, which again recorded the highest number overall, with 5,446 checked, up from 3,915 the week before.
That also brings this year’s The Dalles haul of 37,047 to within, possibly, a week of topping the station’s entire 2016 tally, but fishing has to stay strong to match 2004’s high mark of 54,428.
Action also improved on the Snake, where Boyer Park took in 1,864 pikeminnow, an increase of 50 percent, and Columbia Point Park, at the confluence of the Snake and Columbia, saw 1,472.
Kalama again saw the highest catch per registered angler of the week, with 26 fishermen accounting for 192 pikeminnow, an average of 18.9 fish each, a slight dropoff from the previous week’s 20.0 per.
Other stations seeing relatively high catch per angler include The Dalles (16.1), Bingen (13.8) and Beacon Rock (11.9).
Fourteen specially tagged pikeminnow were caught last week, with six of those turned in at The Dalles, three at Columbia Point, two at Chinook Landing and Boyer Park, and one at Bingen.
Since the 2017 season started May 1, 83,375 qualifying pikeminnow have been removed from the Columbia and Snake, 83,894 overall.
The sport reward program pays anglers from $5 to $8 per pikeminnow, with tagged ones worth $500. The idea is to reduce the numbers of the native species that prey on young salmon and steelhead in the Columbia hydropower system.
For more details, including fishing maps, check out pikeminnow.org.