Screw Vegas: $1.2 Mil for Trash Fish

They smell

Here’s a quiz for ya: How many non-pro, non-tournament organizations paid out $1.2 million in just over 5 months this year for landing rod-caught fish?

None? Nope. The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA).

Back in the early days of BassParade – a couple months ago… – we ran a piece about Nikolay Zaremskiy of Gresham, OR, a recreational angler who had earned $51,000 by the end of August. How? By catching pikeminnows, a fish native to Oregon and Washington.

Money’s involved because pikeminnows eat salmon, which are protected by every environmental law ever created by bureaucrats’ rubber brains, and since the BPA has to protect salmon, one thing they do is pay average Joes to go out there, catch and remove these fish, formerly known as squawfish.

According to the BPA, fishermen get paid $4 to $8 for northern pikeminnows 9 inches and larger caught in the lower Columbia and Snake rivers. The more pikeminnows caught, the more the program pays: After 400 fish are turned in, pikeminnow are worth $8 each. As an added incentive, specially tagged fish are worth $500.

One fisherman earned $81,366 this season, handily eclipsing the previous record of $58K. Was it Nikolay? No name has been released yet, but that top earner this year caught 13 of the tagged fish. That’s $6,500 right there – and no entry fees….

My thinking is this: Forget about Vegas. Go to Oregon or Washington for vacation, fish the whole time, come back with a net profit for the trip.


> 173,112 pikeminnow were caught this year in a season from May 1 to Oct. 10. The annual bounty program was originally scheduled to close Sept. 30 but was extended 10 days this year.

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