Sekiu Salmon Fishing at Slip Point

Slip point can be a hot spot for blackmouth fishing, especially during an outgoing current.

During an outgoing current Slip Point offers a multi-mile troll from east of the point toward the west. As the current sweeps past Slip Point massive schools of baitfish can be found throughout the water column. During heavy currents you will find blackmouth close to the bottom which could be as deep as 250 feet. Last season I fished Slip Point several times and had the best action on the 220-foot contour line. This depth requires heavy 15 pound balls and braid on your downrigger. These two key factors will give you better depth control and equate to higher catch rates.

Speed & Timing

When I know the current is strong I began the troll at least half a mile east of Slip Point. This allows time to get the trolling motor operational and my downriggers set to deploy to the bottom. When fishing the 220-foot line it will require you to let out close to 300-feet of braid to maintain bottom depth control. Typically we will run our deepest line toward the middle of the Strait and other downrigger toward shore. With this configuration it is easier to prevent your deepest ball from snagging bottom. If your ball bounces just turn to starboard when trolling west during an outgoing current. With two lines out and one as close to bottom as possible, the other line could be anywhere in the water column from 120 to 160 feet deep. Where you see bait is the biggest clue where to set your gear. The image below shows massive amounts of bait just west of Slip Point. After seeing these massive bait balls our port line (closest to shore) set at 160-feet got bit by a keeper 8 pounder. A little farther west our starboard, deepest line got a 15 pound keeper.

Tips & Tricks

Underwater lights can increase your catch rate. You can either buy a flasher with a built in light or make your own. I use water activated Tail Lights and clip them on before my leader. The picture below shows the top plastic flasher with the correct way to put the light on the flasher’s snap. Below is incorrect as putting them inline creates so much rotating action it eventually wears through the metal on the light. During multiple tests side by side the flasher with the light out produces the flasher without a light.

Here’s where you can buy Tail Light or go to your local tackle store.

Posted in Salmon Fishing, Salmon Fishing Maps, Salmon Fishing Tips & Tricks, Washington Salmon Fishing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

How to Catch Blackmouth in Sekiu. Area 5 Caves Fishing Map

Sekiu Salmon Fishing Map

Fishing for blackmouth in Sekiu Washington can be super productive if you know when, where and how to fish for immature Chinook salmon. Later in the season you might also encounter bigger Spring Chinook migrating through the Strait of Juan de Fuca on their way to their home rivers. The chart above shows one of the most popular and productive places to find limits of blackmouth. This Sekiu fishing chart represents my favorite troll path and most productive locales marked by red Xs. Other experienced Sekiu anglers might look at my chart and have a different favorite troll or spot where they catch the majority of their catch. That’s fine and completely normal as anglers and their techniques vary from boat to boat.

My first experience fishing Sekiu dates back to the late 1970s. This area is popular and loved by many, including me since the first time fishing the area. The Sekiu fishing chart above shows an extended “Caves” area troll. Trolling with the current is key here most of the time. Two years ago I trolled with the outgoing current and could not get a bite. Fishing proved very slow for all the boats. In an effort to get a bite I got to the end of the troll, turned into the current and increased speed. Within minutes we caught our first keeper. We kept going against the current and caught another fish. At that point I got on the VHF and called two boats I knew and they started trolling against the tide. Within a couple hours all of us trolling against the current had limits in the box. Anglers trolling with the current continued experiencing slow action. While this day was the exception it proves anglers must learn to adapt and try something different in order to get a bite. This might mean trolling against the current, or sideways to it, changing speed, depth or lures. Sometimes a simple change of lure color does the trick.

Tides and Currents

Typically when the current is strong I drag the bottom with my downrigger balls. To maintain proper depth within a few feet of bottom you will need to have someone at the downrigger to adjust depth to hit bottom and then bring it up a few feet. Because speed of current and boat changes frequently you should continue to “bump” bottom and check to see how close your ball is off bottom. One of the biggest mistakes I see anglers make when first starting a troll is their bottom depth control. When you first start trolling, hit bottom with your ball and then raise it a few feet. Depth will change and “blow back” within minutes requiring an adjustment. That is why we continue to check our ball depth often throughout the troll. And of course, if the depth changes you will need to raise or lower your ball to adjust. Be prepared to lose the occasional ball, especially if you fish five feet or less off bottom. It is just part of the fishing game.

Strong currents compress and push bait and blackmouth toward the bottom. When currents are weak, bait and blackmouth could be anywhere in the water column. During blackmouth season if you only fished within 5 to 10 feet off bottom you will catch your fair share of fish. Even during weak currents I like to keep one downrigger ball super close to bottom and use the other side to explore the water column.

Also note, when the tide book lists high or low tide that does not reflect direction of current. The Strait of Juan de Fuca has billions of gallons of water flushing in and out and most often exceeds listed times. It is not uncommon in the Straits for water current to be an hour or more off from listed high or low tides. For this reason it is best to simply put your boat into neutral and watch your drift and speed. This will save you time and give you valuable information to start your troll.

Best Depths

I like to troll the 120 to 130 foot contour line. The biggest factor, however, is bait. Where you find bait you will find blackmouth. If you can’t find bait in your troll line move shallower or deeper. Also watch for nets — an obvious signal of someone catching a fish.

Baits, Lures & Flashers

I prefer lures over bait during blackmouth season because they work great, cost less and you don’t have to worry about losing your bait while trolling. However, lots of anglers love herring and sometimes bait works better than lures. My favorite, most productive lures for Sekiu blackmouth include Needlefish and a variety of spoons.


When trolling with the current don’t be surprised when your speed indicator reads 4 to 5 knots. The key to speed is to make your gear work. In other words, you need to go fast enough to make your flasher rotate. If using strictly bait you can go much slower with a cut or whole herring.

This is a SquidPro fully rigged Needlefish with UV tubing between the double hooks. This Needlefish hoochie is fished 32 to 36 inches behind an F4 Piscator flasher or plastic flasher. The UV tubing protects the 25 pound leader and provides and great place to add scent.

This blackmouth went for a Mean Green Flutter King spoon fished behind a plastic flasher with a 32 inch leader.

Flutter King spoons have a great side to side action, unlike any spoon on the market.

Flutter King salmon fishing spoons all have glow on the inside and color pattern on outside. These spoons have a deep cup to provide maximum action and they have a plastic action tail and swivel to increase the side to side movement. They come stock with a 3/0 hook.

Where to Stay & Launch

Mason’s Resort offers a multi-lane launch, docks, moorage, rustic cabins and motel rooms. They also have fuel on site and a fully stocked tackle and convenience store.

Area 5 Blackmouth Season 2021

March 1st through April 30th

Limit 2 adipose clipped Chinook minimum length 22 inches

Posted in Salmon Fishing, Salmon Fishing Maps, Salmon Fishing Tackle, Salmon Fishing Tips & Tricks, Uncategorized, Washington Salmon Fishing | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

U.S. Customs & Border Patrol CBP-Roam App Is What CBP Wants Anglers To Use When Returning From Canadian Waters

SquidPro Tackle's Halibut Fishing Chronicles

After several calls to U.S. Customs & Border Patrol regarding fishing in Canadian waters and returning to U.S. waters I have some answers for anglers. First off, the U.S. CBP officers I have spoken with said the following.

“We recommend anglers returning to U.S. waters either call us by phone or use the CBP-Roam App. If you don’t make the call or use the app and are contacted by the U.S. Coast Guard or WDFW they will require a clearance number. And, if you go fishing, crabbing or shrimping and acquire anything it is required that you MUST call us or use the CBP-Roam App.”

CBP Roam-1In other words, if you are successful in Canadian waters you MUST call 1-800-562-5943 or use the new CBP-Roam App. The app is awesome and uses your phone’s GPS, which must be turned on to allow the app to know where you are. You can…

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Fisheries Managers In Washington & Canada Continue Mismanaging Salmon Stocks!

BC Fish MapFisheries managers on both sides of the border continue to mismanage our fisheries. This week WDFW announced massive Draconian cuts throughout Puget Sound. Meanwhile, British Columbia Fisheries managers announced massive no fishing zones that will have untold negative effects to the sport fishing community and tourism to the tune of 100s of millions of lost dollars to the province.

“Trust us,” says the fisheries managers on both sides of the border. “We know what we are doing, and doing what we must to save endangered expected low runs of key Chinook runs.”

I’m sorry, but I have no trust in this bunch of idiots. These fisheries managers are nothing more than bureaucrats protecting fiefdoms of fisheries control and power. These same fisheries managers on local, state and federal levels as well as politicians are responsible for the following.

In Washington State

  1. Dam rivers
  2. In 1972 they created Marine Mammal Protection Act without reasonable measures to reverse or eliminate this protection. Pinnipeds are now overpopulated by a factor of six. A recent study concluded pinnipeds are eating more than 600 metric tons of Chinook salmon every year in Washington state waters.
  3. Allowed commercial over harvest of salmon
  4. Mixed hatchery stocks throughout the Puget Sound basin virtually destroying genetics for individual river stocks.
  5. Between 1962 and 1973, allowed capture of Orcas for aquariums. At least 263 were caught or killed in the waters of Washington and British Columbia (Bigg and Wolman 1975).
  6. Prior to current WDFW two agencies controlled fish and wildlife, Department of Fisheries (saltwater) and Game Department (freshwater & game). On the saltwater side fisheries managers favored commercial fisheries. When the agencies combined each group had their own power bases and focus of effort. As you can imagine sports anglers got the short end of the stick before and after.
  7. Feds declare some runs of Chinook salmon as “Endangered” giving them and ESA listing
  8. Close or drastically reduced hatchery Chinook production because of ESA. As a result Orca numbers declined at the same rate as Chinook numbers.
  9. In 2006 NOAA fisheries managers declared 14 Puget Sound rivers have extinct runs of wild Chinook. This is largely due to mixing stocks by our fisheries managers
  10. Federal Fisheries managers do an end around to maintain control and create an ESU listing, “Evolutionary Salmon Unit.” Fisheries managers want to keep their jobs, power and control over man, land, water and fish. This new listing maintained control. This means when two “natural spawn” hatchery Chinook spawn without the aid of the hatchery they are essentially now wild and must be protected. This new listing maintains power and control, nothing more.
  11. Fisheries managers and state bureaucrats continue to allow salmon net pens

In British Columbia fisheries managers face many of the same issues listed above. And like Washington they must deal with Federal fisheries managers as well as First Nations fisheries managers and politics.

Orca and salmon decline graph


The Orca problem is one of the key issues across the border. And like Washington, Canadians don’t want to do anything meaningful to help the Orcas and instead focus on sports anglers. A recent report says a complete Chinook sport closure will only amount to less than 2% more Chinook for Orcas to eat.

In my opinion Washington and British Columbia needs to do the following to help increase Chinook numbers as well as feed the Orcas.

Sealions-11. Reduce numbers of seals and invasive California sea lions. Yes, this means “lethal” removal. This means getting Feds to eliminate or drastically change Marine Mammals Protection Act

2. Increase hatchery production

3. Decrease or eliminate commercial harvest of herring

4. Eliminate ALL non-selective gill nets

5. Force NOAA to reduce by-catch of Chinook in Alaska. Hundreds of thousands of Chinook are killed as by-catch in the mid-water trawl fishery in Alaska

6. Clip ALL hatchery Chinook

7. Manage overpopulation of cormorants and mergansers. These birds eat millions of smolts and should be controlled

We should all remember, there’s no money or continued control and power to restore our Chinook. From a bureaucrat’s point of view maintaining “status quo” maintains their jobs, power and control. The Chinook and Orca crisis is a multi-billion dollar industry that fisheries managers want to continue because it is profitable. Let’s end years of failed fisheries management policies and help the fish!

Below are some of the major changes for Washington State Salmon 2019 to 2020 salmon seasons.

Notable changes compared to 2018-19 season:

Ocean Marine Areas 3 La Push & 4 Neah Bay

June 22 to September 30 — Open for Chinook and hatchery coho. Areas will close when quotas are met. La Push has a 1,300 Chinook quota and 4,150 hatchery coho. Neah Bay has a 5,500 Chinook quota and 16,600 hatchery coho. Daily limit 2 salmon both areas.

Marine areas 5 (Sekiu) and 6 (East Strait Juan de Fuca) are closed to salmon fishing in February.

Area 5 — Sekiu open for Hatchery Chinook July 1 to Aug. 15 Hatchery coho and pinks open July 1 to Sept. 30. Daily limit of two salmon with no extra bag limit for pinks this season — there will be no bonus bag limits for pinks in any marine area in 2019.

Marine Area 7 is closed to salmon fishing in August, October, and January.

Marine Area 8-1 is closed to salmon fishing in December and January but open for coho fishing in October.

Marine Area 8-2 will be open from Aug. 16 through Sept. 15 for hatchery coho from the Mukilteo/Clinton line south and west towards Marine Area 9. Similar to 8-1, this area will be closed to salmon fishing in December and January.

Marine Area 9 opens slightly later (July 25) this year with a lower quota for Chinook (3,500 fish) and is closed in January.

Elliott Bay in Marine Area 10 is scheduled only to be open the first weekend in August, however, additional openings could be added during August.

Marine Area 10 will open July 25 for chinook fishing. The Area 10 summer quota is 3,057 chinook.  Last year it was 4,743.

Marine Area 11 is closed in June and then again from October through December. The area quota for the summer (July through September) is 2,800 chinook. In order to maximize opportunity for chinook, boat fishing will be open five days per week (Saturday through Wednesday) while shoreline fishing will be open daily.

Marine Area 12 (north of Ayock) will open in August (a month earlier than 2018) for coho fishing.

In Marine Area 13 there will be a 20-inch minimum size for chinook July through September.

Columbia River

The summer salmon fishery will be closed to summer Chinook (including jacks) and sockeye retention due to low expected returns this year.

Fall salmon fisheries will be open under various regulations. Waters from Buoy 10 upstream to the Hwy. 395 Bridge at Pasco will open to fall salmon fishing beginning Aug. 1.

Posted in 2019 Puget Sound Chinook Salmon Seasons, British Columbia Salmon Fishing Closure, Canadian Salmon Fishing Regulations, Chinook Salmon Recovery Plans, ESA Salmon Policy, ESU Salmon Policy, Orca Salmon Closures, Puget Sound 10 Year Salmon Plan, Puget Sound Salmon Seasons, Salmon Fishing, Salmon Fishing in Canada Rules, Uncategorized, Washington Salmon Fishing, Washington State Gill Net Ban, Washington State Salmon Politics, Wild Chinook Salmon Policy | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Washington Fisheries Managers Not Standing Up For Recreational Anglers!

Negotiations are under way between WDFW & Washington Treaty Tribes regarding salmon fishing seasons for 2019 & Winter/Spring 2020. According to Gage Little, Sport Fishing Advocate, “It’s an all out attack on recreational fisheries from the Tribes!”

“And this year’s fishery process and agreement is just another example of their intent,” explains Gage. “Unless we can blow this up on Social Media and expose the obvious intent we will lose.”

Recreational anglers, take note here. Our salmon stocks are co-managed by WDFW and Washington Treaty Tribes. While some of the Tribes work great with Recreational Anglers, others do not or try to take advantage of the situation. I’m not pointing fingers at any particular Tribe, but we as sports anglers need to let our WDFW Fisheries Managers and WDFW Wildlife Commission know your thoughts.

Contact the Commission via this link:

Several runs of “Wild” stocks of Chinook are fueling the fire and causing issues with the negations. As mentioned in previous posts, in 2006 NOAA found that 14 Puget Sound Basin rivers had extinct runs of wild Chinook, yet the Feds continue to manage and force Draconian fisheries measures that are pointless. Add the Co-manager between WDFW and Tribes factor and you have a real nightmare trying to manage these stocks. Also remember that any lost opportunity for Recreational Anglers could be taken advantage of by some Tribes via the “Forgone Opportunity” clause in the Treaty. In other words,  if they get 1/2 and we are suppose to get 1/2 of harvestable salmon but are prevented from fishing who gets the fish? The only other group that has the right to fish, Treaty Tribes for that area.

While this seems complex it is really simple. Recreational Anglers can be shut down and prevented from fishing to save just a handful of fish mathematically.

Please share your thoughts about this important issue and stand together as Recreational Anglers and let your WDFW Commissioners, Senators and Reps know your thoughts.

House Contact e-mail links here:

Senate Contact e-mail links here:


Posted in 2019 Puget Sound Chinook Salmon Seasons, Puget Sound Salmon Seasons, Uncategorized, Washington State Salmon Politics | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

2019-2020 Puget Sound Recreational Chinook Seasons Modeling Proposal

Salmon Season Proposals

Posted in 2019 Puget Sound Chinook Salmon Seasons, Port Angeles Salmon Fishing, Puget Sound Salmon Seasons, Salmon Fishing, Uncategorized, Washington Salmon Fishing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

WDFW Increases Area 6 Salmon Limits to 2 Starting March 15th through April 15

eZ Spoon Two Fish LimitYesterday the WDFW increased the daily salmon limit from one to two because just 34% of the quota had been caught. The increase will be in effect from March 15th 2019 through the end of the season as long as there’s enough quota.


Posted in Area 6 Salmon Limits, Uncategorized, Washington Salmon Fishing | Tagged | Leave a comment

WDFW Reduces Salmon Limit to 1 in Area 6 Effective Immediately

EZ Spoon King Salmon-1Today I went fishing and launched in Port Angeles. Before going fishing I checked limits and checked the WDFW app map which showed Area 6 still had a two fish daily limit. By the time I got home the app still said two fish limit but an Emergency Order had been released by WDFW lowering the Area 6 limit to 1 fish effective immediately. Luckily we only had two fish on the boat today.

February 28, 2019

WDFW reduces daily catch limit to 1 salmon in Marine Area 6 Action: Reduces the daily limit for salmon to one fish in Marine Area 6 (east Juan de Fuca Strait).

The 2018-19 Washington Sportfishing Rules pamphlet erroneously states that anglers can keep two salmon daily.

Effective date: Immediately.

Species affected: Salmon.

Location: Marine Area 6 (east Juan de Fuca Strait).

Reason for action: This corrects an error in the 2018-19 Washington Sportfishing Rules pamphlet. These regulations were agreed to with co-managers during the annual North of Falcon salmon season-setting process.

State fishery managers set the daily salmon limit at one fish to meet conservation objectives and increase the likelihood the winter fishery would remain open for the entire season.

Additional information: Anglers are reminded to release wild coho and wild chinook.

Information contact: David Stormer, Puget Sound recreational salmon manager, 360-902-0058; Mark Baltzell, Puget Sound salmon manager, 360-902-2807.

Fishers must have a current Washington fishing license, appropriate to the fishery. Check the WDFW “Fishing in Washington” rules pamphlet for details on fishing seasons and regulations. Fishing rules are subject to change. Check the WDFW Fishing hotline for the latest rule information at (360) 902-2500, press 2 for recreational rules. For the Shellfish Rule Change hotline call (360)796-3215 or toll free 1-866-880-5431.


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Former WDFW Fisheries Manager Says I’m Highly Misinformed. Sorry, I won’t Drink The WDFW Kool Aid

Response by Pat Pattillo, retired WDFW Salmon Resource Manager Policy Lead.

About wild salmon and hatchery reform.

I think this view (My last post) is highly misinformed, but may be prevalent within the sport fishing community. While I support expanded hatchery production that is under consideration by WDFW, the Tribes, and NOAA Fisheries, I also strongly support the principles of hatchery reform. I look forward to the WDFW staff review of hatchery reform requested by the Fish and Wildlife Commission, with respect to the science that forms the basis of a proper balance between hatchery and natural origin fish.

I started my career with WDFW at a time when hatchery production was at its peak throughout the Columbia River, Washington Coast and Puget Sound. The agency made a lot of mistakes under the assumption there was no limit to the potential for hatchery fish to provide for ever-expanding fishing. But a few problems were encountered along the way. Survival of hatchery produced Chinook and coho in the 1990’s dropped to 10% or less than levels of the 70’s and early 80’s. Ocean fisheries that were defined by Columbia River coho production were nearly closed due to failures of hatchery coho produced by ODFW, WDFW and federal facilities. Production of yearling Chinook that supported the incredible year-around sport fisheries in Puget Sound essentially disappeared as the delayed release program showed that fish had changed their migration pattern and no longer produced a significant “resident” population. Funding of state and federal production certainly took a hit in the 80’s, and the cuts were made based on the poorest performing hatcheries reflecting those low survival rates and poor fishery contributions.

And then there was the increasingly dire status of our wild populations. Hatchery fish made a major contribution to spawning numbers but we really didn’t have a handle on those estimates until we began to fin-clip hatchery produced Chinook and coho beginning in Puget Sound with the 1996 brood. Once those hatchery fish began returning in 2000, we were able to make accurate estimates of the hatchery contribution to spawning populations and we discovered that the “wild” spawners in many of our rivers were mostly hatchery fish, leading to the conclusion that our wild fish were in much poorer shape than we had assumed. Where we thought we were meeting spawning escapement goals, we found that those management objectives were not achieved, and we were compelled to reconsider those spawning goals realizing that the balance between wild and hatchery fish was not what we had thought.

We (Tribes and WDFW) developed new objectives for each river system that would lead to self-sustaining natural spawning populations while continuing to support hatchery production that would be the backbone of our fisheries. Those new objectives also are the basis for justifying “take” of naturally produced Chinook and coho listed under the ESA and allowing the permitting required for our fisheries to be opened. Hatchery Genetic Management Plans are also required in order to produce any hatchery fish under the ESA, since “take” is broadly defined to include the effects of too many hatchery fish mixing with naturally produced fish on the spawning grounds. Those effects are real, as scientific studies have repeatedly shown, but the impact on wild populations varies greatly and the hatchery management approaches that will achieve a robust, self-sustaining, natural spawning population in the future are different for each river system.

Natural processes including ensuring diversity of these wild fish with respect to spawn timing, distribution throughout watersheds, age structure and many other characteristics of healthy populations take a long time – many generations and decades, not just a few years. So it is entirely unrealistic to expect that policies and programs developed to address the very real problem of poor health with our naturally produced Chinook and coho will achieve their intended outcomes in as short a period of time as ten years.

Reviewing the FWC policies for operating our hatcheries is a good thing. It is entirely appropriate to question periodically the scientific foundation of those policies and programs, and to make adjustments where new or improved scientific findings apply. But abandoning the overarching principles of hatchery reform and our fishery management plans, such as has been proposed by proponents of the “a fish is a fish is a fish” view of the world is not an alternative worthy of our consideration and would lead to an unacceptable future with closure of our hatcheries and closure of our fisheries.

Thanks for considering my thoughts on this important matter.

Posted in Chinook Salmon Recovery Plans, ESA Salmon Policy, ESU Salmon Policy, Orca Salmon Closures, Puget Sound 10 Year Salmon Plan, Salmon Fishing, Uncategorized, Washington Salmon Fishing, Washington State Salmon Politics, Wild Chinook Salmon Policy | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Chinook Salmon Fisheries Policy Is Salmon Racist & Wild Centric

Wild Chinook salmon versus hatchery origin fish continues to be a hot, hugely expensive and contested topic. In one corner you’ll find a bunch of “wild only” proponents. In the other corner you’ll find sports anglers like me that believe a Chinook is a Chinook is a Chinook. For more than 100 years Washington State, Tribal, and the Federal Government have been releasing billions of hatchery Chinook into our rivers and streams. many of those plants were made “out of basin” into other rivers. Simply put, the genetics have drastically been altered.

The Chinook salmon in the rivers of the Puget Sound basin from the Elwha to the Nooksack have been listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as “Threatened” species. Puget Sound, for Chinook management purposes, has been listed as an Evolutionary Significant Unit (ESU) and each of the 22 rivers is considered a distinct population segment (DPS). Under the ESA, the ESU listing can’t be removed until all of the DPS’s are fully recovered.

With a broad based designation like this, where you include “naturally spawned” Chinook the ESU listing does the trick of gaining control over the fishery. Control is power, power is money, money is power. From my point of view the ESU listing is nothing more than a bureaucrat’s ridiculous power grab of a public fishery and steals the right of opposing viewpoints as well as opposing science.

The idea of wild Chinook has created a profitable industry with state and federal fisheries managers who have made careers out of trying to restore allegedly genetically pure Chinook into the rivers. With the billions of Chinook released within the Puget Sound basin, I don’t think a “wild” fish in the classic sense of pure genetics going back to the 1890’s before Washington built its first hatchery. Interestingly, it is my understanding that NOAA will consider the offspring of two hatchery fish spawning in a river as “wild” when they come out of the gravel because they have an adipose fin. If one considers a hatchery as an artificial extension of the river system, then what is a “wild” fish? Using hatchery production and not clipping all the release would, over time, allow the re-building of natural spawning stocks while allowing for a marked selective fishery. It would be a lot faster than waiting the estimated 300 to 500 years to restore our salmon runs if they are left to their own devices.

The ESA process can be a money maker for private companies.  ESA listings can provide contracts for restoration, environmental impact studies, etc. One of the big winners of the “wild only” policy are non-profit groups that use the issue as a key fund raiser for their organizations. They would likely deny this allegation, but it is my opinion this is true. Groups like Long Live The Kings, Wild Fish Conservancy, Trout Unlimited, and Save Our Wild Salmon to name just a few. While these groups do some good with their monies, they stand firm with their goal, wild salmon only. Imagine what would happen to these non-profits if our fisheries managers switched their policy to embrace hatchery production. They would either shrink in size or go away with their stated goals gone or they would continue to fight for wild only policies. That last word is what this is really about, policies. Policies are where the money is made and power created. Without wild only policies money and power would diminish greatly. Follow the money and you will end up at “wild only” policies.

A July 2006 NOAA reported that 14 Puget Sound river systems have extinct runs of Chinook salmon. Science proves this fact, that Chinook DNA has been heavily changed over the last 100 plus years. But fisheries managers continue to preach and dictate their views and beliefs that hatchery Chinook  are inferior. This position actually contradicts the Fed’s ESA listing. Again, this issue is about control, money and power. Ask yourself what would happen if these fishery managers and non profits would do if policy changed to hatchery friendly solutions instead of failed “wild only” policies?

Lets take a look at a parallel — Humans and Chinook.

For decades the United States of America has fought hard to eliminate racism. Yes, I’m comparing Chinook salmon with humans. Humans are humans but have different DNA based on ethnicity. Chinook are Chinook. They have the ability to use their DNA based on their home river systems. Humans at one time were genetically “pure” within their unique ethnicity. Crazy people like Hitler and others wanted a superior white race, even after thousands of years of genetic mixing. He was crazy but his policies gave him power.

Diversity is something we as a nation embrace. Diversity brings new DNA and can strengthen a population and has strengthened our population.  Trying to maintain a “pure” population, whether human or Chinook salmon simply makes no sense, unless you are trying to maintain control of power and money. Frankly, I’m sick of the salmon racists that currently control our fisheries policies and practices. The time is now to embrace hatchery Chinook where hatchery Chinook have been present for years. If such a river actually exists with a pure strain of wild Chinook, fine, leave that system alone or do a captive brood stock program.

Again, a Chinook, is a Chinook is a Chinook, whether it is wild, natural spawned or hatchery origin. Regardless of a Chinook’s origin, the DNA is still Chinook. If we humans were stuck with current fishery policies we would be stuck marrying our brothers, sisters and cousins, a concept that is silly and extremely unhealthy. Diversity is healthy within any population, human or fish.

The value of a non-existent wild Chinook is zero unless you are close-minded fishery managers. The value of a hatchery Chinook that swims within the river is quantifiable and valued among all user groups as well as eagles, trees and all other life that benefits from tangible, real Chinook salmon that swim our rivers and oceans.

Also note, Mother Nature has a natural way to bring new DNA to different river systems via a “stray rate.” Approximately 10% of a river’s Chinook stock will stray to another system. This has been going on forever and is Nature’s way of keeping Chinook stocks healthy. Diversity is good and so are hatchery Chinook.

Fisheries managers will say, “Trust our science.”

Sadly, I no longer trust their lopsided science. A friend of mine who once worked for NMFS as a fisheries biologist told me stories of his projects. He said he was instructed to find a way to prove their hypothesis. He said they would conduct study after study until they got the results they were instructed to find. Unfortunately trusting science to fisheries managers with agendas becomes tainted. And the so-called peer reviews are equally suspect as they too have been taught and programmed to believe wild only is best. With this line of thinking what other conclusion would there be other than wild only Chinook?

Well that’s my opinion, a very cynical but logical approach to fishery management. If we change policy we can change the outcome of Chinook for centuries.

Don’t be a salmon racist!

Let’s end the crisis funding for Chinook salmon. No crisis, no funding and there’s no money in recovered fisheries. Chinook fisheries management is in the recovery only stage with no reason to cross the finish line.

Please support hatchery Chinook production. Hatchery Chinook salmon will provide enough fish for every user group and keep the orca whales fed at the same time. When hatchery production decreased so did orca populations. The time is now to increase hatchery production — orcas and anglers can’t wait 300 to 500 years for wild stocks to return if they ever do.

Orca and salmon decline graph

John Beath, Editor Salmon Chronicles

Please read my other blogs about this issue

The above link proves in basin Chinook hatchery plants throughout Puget Sound as well as other important links about hatchery Chinook.



Posted in Chinook Salmon Recovery Plans, ESA Salmon Policy, ESU Salmon Policy, Salmon Fishing, Uncategorized, Washington Salmon Fishing, Washington State Salmon Politics, Wild Chinook Salmon Policy | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment