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B-Dub goes after bullies
7/16/2012 12:00 AM
They are bullies of the Columbia River. At least that's what "B-Dub" dubbed them. B-Dub is the evening disc jockey from 98.7 KUPL, a hot country radio station in Portland, Ore. The bullies are officially named pikeminnow, the largest group of fish that kill young salmon.
That's why the Bonneville Power Administration and KUPL's street team - or "Steam" as they like to be called - teamed up on a hot Saturday afternoon at the Port of The Dalles Marina to launch the first Pikeminnow Fishing Derby. The Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission and the Oregon and Washington departments of fish and wildlife had a street team of their own to assist folks in registering for the program, and to hand out fish vouchers.
B-Dub took in the action as the salmon-savers arrived with their catch. Some fished offshore, others from boats. One was a school teacher, another, a primary school student. Some earned $8 a fish (because they had already caught more than 100), others earned $4.
Although no tagged fish - each worth $500 - were brought in during B-Dub's two-hour derby, that doesn't mean none were caught, said Jeff Lesselyoung of the PSMFC. "This year more fish have been tagged than ever before," Lesselyoung said. "It's a great year for beginners."
The pikeminnow ranged from nine to 23 inches in size. A couple of fish were too small to keep by a millimeter or so. On a side note, it's a good idea to pack a ruler in your fishing gear. One of the monster fish weighed about five pounds. Lesselyoung held up the voracious predator by its gill and said,
"This is a salmon decimator, a baby salmon decimator!"
Its mouth opened easily two inches in circumference, enough for the foul fish to swallow a dozen or so whole baby salmon at a time. To make matters worse, the pikeminnow never feel full. So they wait in reservoirs created by the dams to feed on the young schools of salmon heading to the ocean. That's why BPA funds the program. The Northern Pikeminnow Sport Reward Fishery aims to keep the population of the big decimators down.
To assess the effectiveness of the program, Lesselyoung delivers the fish to a cooler through a tube that registered any tagged young salmon in its belly. If so, the fish is set aside for further assessment. By tracking the tagged young salmon, scientists are better able to determine how well the program is working. But B-Dub doesn't need a scientist to tell him that.
"I'm doing this because I love salmon, and no one likes a bully." said B-Dub. "Plus, if you think about it, catch just one tagged fish, that's 500 bones."
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