BOUNTY ANGLERS!!! by Montana Grant
By angelamontana

Posted: April 29, 2024

We have heard of Bounty Hunters. These skilled hunters track and capture escaped felons, lost people and pets, or invasive critters. They hunt for money and can be very successful.

Bounty Anglers are also becoming a Management Tool being used by Fisheries staff and commissions across the country.

If you want to get rid of something, put a dollar figure on it and tadah! Too many glass bottles or cans littering an area, put a return fee on them. A bounty will be a great way to create jobs and get rid of unwanted invasives. In Florida, invasive pythons and iguanas are legally caught and turned in for hundreds and thousands of dollars. Gator populations are controlled by catching and killing gators by the boatload. 

In Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, the watersheds were once full of steelhead and salmon. Hatcheries release millions of fry annually. Natural reproduction also helps to replenish the populations until predators feast on the small offspring.

Pikeminnows are natural to the areas but feast on these fish populations by eating millions a season. To help reduce predator mortality, the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission put out a bounty on all Pikeminnows. Bounty Anglers rose to the occasion.

Here’s what the bounty looks like. 

  • Any size pikeminnow
  • $6 for the first 25 turned in.
  • $8 for the next 175 captured
  • $10 per pikeminnow over 200 caught.
  • A bonus fee of $200-$500 is given for Pikeminnows with Salmon transponder tags inside them, from eaten tagged salmon. 

Bounty Anglers have removed 5.3 million Pikeminnows since 1990. 3 anglers have made over $100,000 each. The biggest Bounty Angler made $119,341 in 2016!

11,954 Bounty Anglers captured 156,505 pikeminnows in 2023. This was a 10% increase over 2022’s bounty harvest. This means a 40% decline in juvenile salmon and steelhead predation.

This Sport Reward Fishery is paying off in helping to control the abundant pikeminnow predators while improving the salmon and steelhead fisheries. Thanks to this strategy, the fisheries are being restored to a more natural balance. 

Other states having invasive fishery challenges should consider Bounty Anglers to help restore a healthy fishery balance. 

Catch a big one and cash in!

Montana Grant

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