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

Puget Sound Angler’s President Ron Garner Explains His Views About Gill Net Ban SB 5617

WhalesFamilyDear Senators Saloman, Van De Wege, Washington State Senators, and Representatives,

RE: Senate Bill 5617-unintended consequences.

I am reaching out to you today to make sure you understand what you are signing on SB 5617. As President of the largest fishing club in Washington state, Puget Sound Anglers with 16 state chapters, I feel that not all information is on the table and it being thought out all of the way to the end. It is not as easy as it sounds on the surface.

The results of the SB 5617 gill net ban, if implemented, will have unintended consequences. At a time when we are realizing that Chinook Hatchery Production cuts have been one of the main culprits causing our orca loss and eliminating our fishing seasons. This bill stops production increases. It does not address the ESA requirement of commercial clean up or commercial netting to stop the excess hatchery fish on spawning beds. This state bill removes the tool in the tool box that allows those increases to happen. There are ways to work with the commercials to adjust but this is flat out to remove them and going to stop hatchery increases dead in its tracks. Our commercials are the ones tasked to clean up excess hatchery fish, allowing us to make more fish for our Orcas, communities, and fishers of Washington. This is law in today’s world that cannot be ignored, until newer science is adopted, which is being working on. While the general public thinks it is the right thing to do, they do not understand the full dynamics and end result it will be bring.

The tribes on the CR are fishing above Bonneville dam and non tribal commercials below. Below Bonneville is a 80/20 split. It is 80% rec 20% commercial and a state managed fishery. Once you remove the non tribal commercials you are going to see tribes commercial fishing below Bonneville right among the recreationalists. Think you do not like this now, just wait and see what happens.

We are tired of fighting over the last fish and have joined forces with the Washington State tribes, coastal, and commercials to fix this mess. You should personally take time to visit some of those coastal and tribal communities to see what we have done to them by these extreme production cuts. It is time to change the way we do business, make the pie bigger, and return to fishing full seasons like we used to. What we have been doing is not working. We have a unique opportunity in our hands right this very moment. We can change Washington State for the better and bring back our “Salmon Capital of the World” status by producing more fish, once again, while rebuilding the Orca population. We have cut Washington State Chinook and Coho Hatchery Production by 152 Million fish annually since 1989. With a 1% return rate that would equate to 1.52 million additional fish for the 0rcas and us. (See attachment) Also see attachment showing that hatchery production cuts that track with the orca decline. This newly brought out data is not disputable. The numbers are straight from Washington Department of Fisheries Stocking records.

As an Orca Task Force member, appointed by Governor Inslee, together we put in thousands of hours to make sure that we are doing the right thing and giving it our best. There are a handful of us and tribes on the committee that help manage our salmon fisheries both federally and state. We are there to make sure that reality is used and the orcas were not failed as well as our salmon. The orca problem is a salmon problem. People came from all over the world, giving emotional testimony, asking us to save our Orcas. We took this plea to heart and intend to live up to those expectations and are asking the same of all of you.

At this very moment you are in the spotlight of the entire world. Checkbooks are ready to write checks to make fish to save our precious orcas. This might be our only chance. There is money available and attitudes are changing. We have to start producing more salmon again. The WDFW Commission has asked for a Washington State 50 Million Chinook increase that was supported at by the Orca Task Force. This as being characterized by some groups as reckless and is not the truth. Truth is dead end bay releases and fish produced where they do not impact wild runs are stated.  Increased hatchery production is short term and habitat is long term. If we do not make fish for the orcas the salmon will not last long enough to use the rebuilt habitat that is proposed. Why does a recreational fishing organization not support a gill net ban? Because it does not fix the problem and stops production increases intended for all fishers and orcas.

If this gill net ban proposal if instituted, contradicts your bill to make more fish. Endangered Species Act (ESA) requires excess hatchery fish not to make it to the spawning beds. I would not want this on my resume as the ones that caused our orcas to go extinct. We can work with the commercials in different ways but just removing them is not the answer. This equates to having a controlled burn to clean up habitat and removing the fire trucks that are the safety net allowing the burn. The bottom line is that this bill does not allow the hatchery production bill to happen. Please reconsider this bill, endorse hatchery production, and make Washingtonians and the world proud.

history of chinook transfers-1

The link above is the PDF prepared by Puget Sound Anglers concerning the history of Chinook transfers from hatcheries and how it effects fisheries policies.

If you have any questions I would be more than happy to talk with you.


Ron Garner


Puget Sound Anglers State Board

SRKW Task Force Member

WDFW Budget Advisory Group Member

WDFW Shrimp and Crab Adviser

WDFW Halibut/Bottom Fish Adviser

Posted in Salmon Fishing, Senate Bill 5617, Uncategorized, Washington Salmon Fishing, Washington State Gill Net Ban | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

British Columbia Considering Massive Fishing Closure to Save Whales

Bon Chovy 2This post is from our B.C. friend, Jason Assonitis, co owner of Bon Chovy Charters based in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The majority of the British Columbia South Coast from Port Hardy, Port Mcneil, Telegraph Cove, Campbell River, Comox, Pender Harbour, Nanaimo to Vancouver, Victoria and up around the corner to Sooke, Port Renfrew, Bamfield, Port Renfrew, Ucluelet, Tofino, Zeballos and Winter Harbour are facing extreme challenges from Draconian fishing closures from a super liberal, uninformed British Columbia Government.

Please read – like – share, help to get the word out!


Fisheries and Oceans Canada has released their proposal for the upcoming 2019 sport fishing season. We have been given two options
Option A: April 1 – July 31 Chinook Non-Retention
Option B: April 1 – July 31 1 Chinook

Please help by emailing your concerns stressing the importance of not going with Option A. Salmon fishing is a way of life in British Columbia! This would be devastating to BC’s coastal communities. Going with Option A would destroy fishing lodges, fishing charter companies, tackle retailers, hotels, restaurants, sea plane companies, boat dealers, marine supply shops, fuel docks, marinas and the list goes on!!

It is time for the DFO led by Minister Jonathan Wilkinson to know that enough is enough. It is time for a government with some teeth and conviction to right this sinking ship of management. It is depressing listening to Department of Fisheries and Oceans employees feel virtually helpless due to years of budget cutbacks. Now is the time to adopt management strategies based on science with FUNDING, not politics. The importance of recreational fishing to the social and economic fabric in BC is MASSIVE.

DFO has put restrictions on the South Coast for at least 15 years now to try and get more early timed Chinook back to the Fraser River. Obviously the last 15 years of restrictions has done nothing to help and neither will these silly proposals. We have done our part for 15 years to no avail . Many of our other systems are seeing great returns of fish . So why not the early Fraser River Fish ? It certainly isn’t sport fishing !   Time to invest in science, habitat, and hatcheries where needed.    The policy of managing by 1000 cuts and hoping for the best is not cutting it anymore and the coast is plunging into crisis.

Many of our other systems are seeing great returns of fish . So why not the early Fraser River Fish ? It certainly isn’t sport fishing !



Jeff Grout


Honorable Jonathan Wilkinson J

Posted in British Columbia Salmon Fishing Closure, Canadian Salmon Fishing Regulations, Salmon Fishing, Salmon Fishing in Canada Rules, Uncategorized, Vancouver Island Salmon Fishing Closure | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Puget Sound Native Chinook Are Mostly Extinct According to Old NOAA Report

000018For years Chinook fishing in Puget Sound has been subject to the Endangered Species Act restrictions imposed on Puget Sound rivers and streams. Fisheries managers have long claimed that these rivers had runs of “Native” Chinook. Others believe any river system that has been influenced by hatchery stock no longer has a pure native stock of Chinook. Dave Croonquist recently discovered years worth of Washington State hatchery planting records that prove how WDFW planted Chinook from various hatcheries throughout the region. For example, Green River Chinook Hatchery has moved 40 million Chinook out of the Green River basin to other river systems throughout the years in an effort to boost Chinook populations. In another example, when the Lower Elwha Hatchery first opened then Governor Rosellini was invited to cut the ribbon during opening ceremonies. When fisheries managers realized the hatchery barely had any fish they imported fish from other hatcheries to make it look good for press.

NOAA has been doing research for years with the goal of saving and managing Chinook salmon. In July 2006 NOAA published the Independent Population of Chinook Salmon in Puget Sound study. The study is fascinating but proves what many have been saying for years, that native stocks of Chinook throughout Puget Sound have largely become extinct. Below are two images tables taken from the report. Some of the rivers listed are driving our sport fishing seasons or lack thereof because of fear of intercepting these native stocks. However, if no such native Chinook stock exists why are fisheries managers continuing to manage the Puget Sound sport fishing seasons based on faulty science?




Link above is the NOAA 2006 Chinook report

history of chinook transfers-1

The link above is the PDF prepared by Puget Sound Anglers concerning the history of Chinook transfers from hatcheries and how it effects fisheries policies.

brannon afs hatchery study

The link above is the Brannon afs hatchery study.

Based on all of this information our fisheries managers should begin a new approach in Chinook fisheries management. Instead of continuing down the same old path of “Native” vs. “Hatchery” we need to embrace what has actually happened to Chinook salmon. When hatchery fish are introduced into a river or stream system a percentage of them will spawn naturally. These “natural spawn” Chinook don’t have adipose fins but they are still the progeny of hatchery stock. In fact, ALL hatchery stock Chinook at one time came from native Chinook stocks. A Chinook, is a Chinook is a Chinook.

Recognizing this fact will speed up our Chinook enhancement and recovery efforts which will in turn result in higher numbers of Chinook via the hatcheries and will help the starving orca whales that need our help now. Given the evidence listed above our fisheries managers, legislators, governor, sports anglers and general population should all embrace and support this line of thinking, I hope. In the meantime, I will now refer to natural spawned Chinook as “Undocumented” Chinook. Maybe if we approach the issue from a PC standpoint we can get past the arguing and increase Chinook hatchery production now.

John Beath



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Partridge Bank Salmon Fishing Map

partridge bank

DSCN1926Partridge Bank is a popular spot and easily accessed from Port Townsend, Keystone on Whidbey Island or John Wayne Marina in Sequim. The bank will produce fish throughout the area but my experience is limited to the areas in yellow. On an outgoing tide I troll the southwest area then turn to the north. During incoming tides I start on the southwest side and troll the 120-foot contour line to the east then turn north. The Southern end will attract bait and in turn blackmouth. The bait will also school along the shallower areas of the bank so don’t be afraid to troll in the 60 to 80 foot areas as well. Again, search for bait, find bait and you should find feeding blackmouth. Some tides will force bait and blackmouth into deeper water. When currents are strong, you might be forced into pulling gear and moving up current and then dropping gear to troll with the current. Be sure to get your gear working properly, especially when trolling with the current which means trolling fast enough for a flasher to rotate. If using bait you can troll slow and expect good results if you keep the bait close to bottom.

In addition to trollers you will find jiggers and moochers here. Jiggers search for bait and then drop their jigs. After hitting bottom, they work the jigs up and down occasionally tapping the sandy bottom. When the jig goes slack jerk it’s likely a fish. Moochers will do the same but will hit bottom with their sinker then reel off bottom, wait then reel up 20 to 40 feet and drop back to the bottom. Successful moochers work the water column and keep their baits spinning to attract bites.

Best Tides: high or low

Best depths: 60 to 140-feet.

Best methods: trolling within 5 to 10-feet of bottom.

Best trolling lures: mini FAT Squids, Squiddy Squids, Coho Killers, Kingfisher Spoons and Floochies.

Mooching & Jigging: both techniques work well here.

Best jigs: Point Wilson candlefish jigs and Dungeness Stingers available at Dartjigs.com

Size of jigs: 2 1/4 to 6-ounces. Use the smallest weight jig possible to stay on bottom. When currents are strong you will need to use heavier jigs

Boat launches: Best access is from Port Townsend, Keystone and John Wayne Marina in Sequim.

Posted in Jigging for Salmon, Marine Area 6 Salmon Fishing Maps, Partridge Bank Salmon Fishing Map, Salmon Fishing, Salmon Fishing Maps, Salmon Fishing Tackle, Salmon Fishing Tips & Tricks, Sequim Salmon Fishing Map, Uncategorized, Washington Salmon Fishing | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dungeness Bay Salmon Fishing Map

dog leg

Dungeness Bay is vast and has multiple contour lines that hold bait which in turn attracts blackmouth. The yellow lines above are a small example of trolling paths anglers can take in search of blackmouth. This area is also a meca for halibut fishing because of the amount of bait that moves in and out with tides. Very few anglers fish here and instead drive over the top of bait and hungry blackmouth while en route to more known areas like Eastern Bank. The few anglers that fish here have the vast area to themselves.

Either tide works here and enables anglers to explore and discover another great area close to Sequim. Like every other area the key is finding bait and working that bait. The “Dog Leg” shown above and outlined in yellow is an example of where to begin looking for bait before dropping your gear. If you don’t find bait move on and continue searching the area until you find some bait. Once found drop your gear and begin trolling. Mooching and jigging works well here too, especially when you find the bait.

It’s a bit harder to follow contour lines here so stay alert and adjust your downriggers often to keep your gear within 20 feet of bottom.

Best Tides: high or low

Best depths: 100 to 140-feet.

Best methods: trolling within 10 to 20-feet of bottom.

Best trolling lures: mini FAT Squids, Squiddy Squids, Coho Killers, Kingfisher Spoons and Floochies.

Mooching & Jigging: both techniques work well here.

Boat launches: Best access is from John Wayne Marina in Sequim.

Posted in Dungeness Bay Salmon Fishing Map, Marine Area 6 Salmon Fishing Maps, Salmon Fishing, Salmon Fishing Maps, Salmon Fishing Tips & Tricks, Sequim Salmon Fishing Map, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Dallas Bank Salmon Fishing Map

dallas bank

Few anglers troll Dallas Bank for blackmouth during winter months, but they should. While countless anglers drive past this productive area blackmouth are left behind, in an area rich with bait. During incoming tides the east side of the bank will likely produce the best results, but anglers might still find willing fish on the west side. During outgoing currents the best place will be the west side. Anglers can also fish the northern end of the bank on both tides.

Winter Blackmouth

Needlefish hoochies work well here

Look for bait and don’t be shy about looking in the shallow areas of the bank, especially at the northern end. When trolling here find the contour line you want to work, anywhere from 80 to 140 feet and keep your gear as close to bottom as possible, within 10 feet if possible. Currents here will force you to troll with currents on your beam so “crabbing” into the current will help to keep you on the contour line and correct depth.

Best Tides: high or low

Best depths: 80 to 140-feet.

Best methods: trolling within 5 to 10-feet of bottom. Bounce bottom occasionally to kick up the sediment.

Best trolling lures: mini FAT Squids, Squiddy Squids, Coho Killers, Kingfisher Spoons and Floochies.

Boat launches: Closest access is from John Wayne Marina in Sequim, but anglers can access the area from many other area launches including Port Townsend and Keystone on Whidbey Island.

Posted in Dallas Bank Salmon Fishing Map, Marine Area 6 Salmon Fishing Maps, Salmon Fishing, Salmon Fishing Maps, Salmon Fishing Tackle, Salmon Fishing Tips & Tricks, Sequim Salmon Fishing Map, Uncategorized, Washington Salmon Fishing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment