If you are tired of punching a clock, it may be time to reconsider your chosen profession.

Especially if you spend your off time fishing on the Columbia River.

The results of the 2017 northern pikeminnow sport program on the Columbia and Snake rivers have been reviewed and 191,483 of the pesky salmon-eating fish were harvested.

Approximately 1,100 people registered to be part of the Northern Pikeminnow Sport Reward Program and were paid nearly $1,542,000 for their efforts.

This year the top 20 fishermen registered with the Sport Reward Program earned an average of nearly $30,000 each. The top angler earned nearly $84,000, reeling in more than 10,000 fish over the five-month season.

"The program's goal is to reduce the number of pikeminnow that prey heavily on juvenile salmon," said Makary Hutson, Bonneville Power Administration project manager. "Annual harvest rate estimates, which are calculated using data from tagged fish caught by anglers, indicate the 2017 season met our program targets, which directly benefits juvenile salmon making their way to the ocean."

There is a catch, however. It all sounds great, but it is NOT easy. You only get paid for what you catch.

The reward program pays registered anglers $5 to $8 per fish, nine inches or longer. The more fish an angler catches during the season, the more each pikeminnow they reel in is worth. State fish and wildlife biologists also release more than 1,000 specially tagged northern pikeminnow, each worth $500.

Northern pikeminnow are voracious eaters, consuming millions of young salmon and steelhead every year. Since 1990, anglers paid through the program have removed more than 4.8 million pikeminnow from the Columbia and Snake rivers.

The program, funded by the Bonneville Power Administration, runs from May 1 through Sept. 30. The program is administered by the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission. The 2018 season is scheduled for May 1 through Sept. 30, 2018. For more information about the program visit www.pikeminnow.org.

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