J. Richardson, 1836
The northern pikeminnow, or Columbia River dace (Ptychocheilus oregonensis)  is a large member of the minnow family, Cyprinidae. Until 1999, when the American Fisheries Society officially changed the common name to pikeminnow, the four species of this genus were known as squawfish. Female northern pikeminnow reach sexual maturity at about six years, males in three to five. They can live longer than 15 years, reaching over 24 inches and eight pounds. The current world record weight for the pikeminnow, 13½ pounds, is held by Christopher Borger and Michael Ray of Edmonton, Alberta. A mature female can lay 30,000 eggs annually. Pikeminnow are voracious predators, and in the Columbia and Snake Rivers, salmon smolts comprise a large part of their diets. Their populations have flourished with the development of the Columbia River hydropower system. The reservoirs have provided excellent habitat for pikeminnow and given them an advantage over depressed salmon and steelhead populations. While historically pikeminnow have not been of interest commercially nor to sport anglers, Washington and Oregon state fisheries agencies and the Bonneville Power Administration have placed a bounty on them to reduce predation on scarce salmon stocks. A sport fishery has developed based on that bounty.
The northern pikeminnow has been shown to consume terrestrial insects, benthic invertebrates, other fish, aquatic insects, and plant matter. A good deal of concern has been expressed regarding the impact northern pikeminnow populations may have on salmon.
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- Pikeminnow Bounty Program
- Haggerty, M. 2009. Lake Ozette Sockeye Limiting Factors Analysis. p 2-33.
- Blecha, Peter. 2018. "Pikeminnow reward program remains strong". The Columbian. https://www.columbian.com/news/2018/jul/25/pikeminnow-reward-program-remains-strong/. Accessed 8/21/18