New Puget Sound Chinook Resource Management Plan


Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater
I have no idea where this whole thing will end up.
It seemed to be mostly about Stilly chinook when the plan was first announced, but now NOAA has deemed the plan to not be adequate due to concerns over some other chinook stocks.

I'll be the first to admit I don’t intentionally target chinook, mainly due to being a beach bum with no boat. I do love fishing Puget Sound though and every chinook encounter I have is certainly a pleasant surprise.
That being said, I can certainly understand the frustration from boat anglers, especially with the salmon regulations over the past few years.
I know anyone thinking of buying a boat to fish the sound, especially MA-4 through MA 9 and 8-2 would need to give it some serious thought before pulling the trigger.
The same goes for new salmon fishing gear.

I guess what I’m mostly fighting for is the continued opportunity to fish. I believe there will be some lost opportunities due to this, but it certainly shouldn’t eliminate them all which is my concern.
Can you imagine the entire straits and sound being closed to salmon fishing?
We all know how easy it is to close fisheries and how difficult it is to get them back open again.

I think everyone knows that 2018 would likely be a tough coho year due to what happened with the returns and the blob in 2018.
Coho numbers have dipped in the past and have rebounded from those dips.
The last thing I want is to be doing is sitting on the beach not fishing even though the coho forecast is for a million fish or whatever.
Maybe that sounds greedy or selfish, so be it. I have over 50+ years invested in fishing the sound and would like to continue to do so until I no longer can.
There are other members here with a lot more time invested in fishing the sound then myself.

We’ll just have to wait and see what the state comes up with in regards to a new plan and how it is viewed by NOAA.
Until then, please continue to contact people and let them know your feeling on this.
Last edited:
Many times the tribes fish on a set net schedule, so in reality there is no 50% quota split.
If they were to hit their supposed 50% but still had a month of fishing scheduled, they keep fishing.
Now add in ocean harvest in Washington plus Washington fish taken in Alaska and Canada and you’ve got a very convoluted mess.
The way things are now, the treaties take precedent and everyone else falls in line behind them.
As the pie has gotten smaller, everyone is fighting for their share of it.
In my opinion, the co-management model is broken.
Having a spineless WDFW representing sports anglers doesn’t help.
This goes beyond salmon and steelhead as well.
When you see Puget Sound being carpet bombed with tribal crab pots a full month before the recreational opener, you have to think things won’t get any better in the future.
I would also like to add to this that even though a date is set for tribal netting to end doesn't mean it will happen. I and others have seen nets out days and weeks after this set date. These were reported on several occasions, and nothing solved.

Furthermore I would also like to know what steps have been taken to minimize by-catch of these nets or is it a free for all when it comes to netting. What I mean is say a season closes, is it closed for everyone or everyone except the tribes and if it's the later, how is that beneficial in recovery efforts?
An interesting read in regards to resident populations of Chinook.

Appears to be a lot.of information here and while informative it seems this study was done on small numbers of fish from different areas.

Some things that I've found interesting is the variation between this study and others I have read in regards to the actual numbers of Chinook that decide not to migrate to the Pacific. I've seen numbers ranging from 30% to 70% of all Chinook (hatchery and wild) that decide to stay in PS which leads me to believe these numbers are nothing more than uneducated guesses. Anyone have a closer number to how many are deciding to stay in the PS area?

Another thing I found very interesting is the amount of PCB contaminated fish found in central PS compared to other study areas. Anyone know how this may effect reproduction or even making the fish unable to reproduce? If a larger portion of wild Chinook from the Stillaguamish river are deciding to stay and becoming sterile due to pollution, this to would have a huge effect on returning fish.

Another observation that if incorrect I hope someone will correct me but returning population numbers of fish to the Stillaguamish river are not measured at the river mouth but further north in the Straight that would be used only by fish migrating to the Pacific. If a larger number of fish are deciding to stay within the sound that would sque these numbers greatly and give false information as to the true state of the population.

Lastly, for the resident populations there wasn't much movement given Chinook capability to travel far distances in short periods of time. It seemed for the most part these fish remained in relative proximity to their tagging areas with only a few traveling outside of those areas.

Tight lines,
Tim, I skimmed through the paper and it appears to be a study on chinook movement and not about estimating populations of individual stocks. Population (abundance) estimates of natural salmon stocks are never more than good educated guesses while hatchery origin abundance estimates are a bit more accurate. These estimates tend to heavily rely on age composition of spawner returns (to rivers/streams/hatcheries of origin) from the prior year. Other factors such as natural mortality and harvest impacts are plugged in as well. The state and tribes are responsible for developing the abundance forecasts. The PFMC publishes a "Preseason Report" each March which includes abundance forecasts for many of the stocks. Here's the link to last year's report, there's some Puget Sound Chinook specific information on page 21:
Bob, thank you for the information. Yes the paper pertains to movement of resident Chinook originally looking for information on depth ranges and how often resident fish are encountered in shallow waters in PS.

The observation of stock assessment didn't particularly come from this paper but others I've read on the subject.
I've followed this thread loosely but have no responded to this point.

Just wanted to say that though I haven't been involved here I have now sent 5 emails regarding this ridiculous plan.

As someone who lives and breathes PS fly fishing I figured I'd better make that clear.
I've followed this thread loosely but have no responded to this point.

Just wanted to say that though I haven't been involved here I have now sent 5 emails regarding this ridiculous plan.

As someone who lives and breathes PS fly fishing I figured I'd better make that clear.
Your passion really shows and is much appreciated!
A big thank you to everyone that has taken the time to email, write, and call in regards to this plan. If you haven't yet because you think it may not effect you, I urge you to reconsider. Even if you have no intention of fishing for Chinook in PS this plan will have an effect on ALL fishing in the sound.


Active Member
I wish there was a prediction market that would host a betting pool that paid of in 2030. I'd put all of my money on "All recreational fishing for PS salmon has ceased while tribal gillnetting and commercial ocean harvest continue unabated" payline.

That's the direction the vectors have been heading since the Boldt decision and it's the logical conclusion of the incentives embedded in that ruling and the subsequent behavior of every agency involved every policy decision since at least the late 80's.

It's not all bad news though - maybe by that point we'll at least have rules that the hundreds of millions of tons of halibut bycatch have to be shipped in containers to feed the sea-lion population. Maybe dudes with tricked out fishing boats will be able to recoup some of their investment by loading up their coolers with bycatch and taking tourists on sea-lion feeding tours....

I have read through the posts concerning the debacle of the RMP and was asked to provide some information on what we are involved in. Some quick background. Last year, we began waving a red flag about the lack of public oversight in the North of Falcon Meetings. As part of the public outreach, we created an on-line petition to address this: It has been a long and difficult fight, but we have the numbers, (over 8000 and growing). The recent issue in secretly crafting the RMP, NO PUBLIC INPUT highlighted our cause.

Our most recent efforts include a coalition between us (Washington Citizen Sportsmen) and Twin Harbors FISH & WILDLIFE Advocacy. We petitioned the Commission requesting they convert the North of Falcon Policy to a WAC (Washington Administrative Code).

Here is an excerpt from that request:

Why take this action? We believe the problem we face today is rooted in the statute with “Current interpretive and policy statements are advisory only....” We believe the Commission needs to give its subordinates (Dept.) clearer instructions. The statute recognized the potential for the problems we face today by adding the language “To better inform and involve the public, an agency is encouraged to convert long-standing interpretive and policy statements into rules .” (The “agency” in this case is the Commission, not the Department

At this point in time, our organizations are not providing any specific language changes between the current policy and an adopted rule. Rather, we are simply requesting the Commission grant our petition and file a CR 101 so the process can begin with a goal of finding a solution to the transparency problems that plague NOF and undermine the public’s confidence in WDFW. If a solution can be found, it would still remain in the discretion of the Commission as to whether or not it would leave it as it currently is, amend the current policy, or adopt a revised version as a rule. We further point out that passage into a rule would not prevent changes in the future on a regular basis just as happens each year with the season rules and often regularly with interpretive policy statements.

Basically, the policy is advisory only, it can be disregarded without consequence.

A WAC is a rule, if violated it allowed for lawsuits.

We hope to accomplish three major things with this;

  1. Provide stricter control and supervision over the Department, thus eliminating the possibility of the department by-passing the Commission in the future.

2. Define a clear set of instructions in the form of a rule for any future delegations.

3. Write public oversight into the rule.

On 2 Feb, the Commission is holding a conference call where they will be discussing what action to take on our request. They are NOT ALLOWING ANY PUBLIC INPUT ON THE CALL, however, you can listen in. We hope you will find it compelling enough to send a comment to the Commission urging them to VOTE YES! As I’ve said, we’ve been fighting very hard for transparency in fishery management, and our fight could very well come down to this vote.

Here is a copy of the upcoming call agenda:

If you’d like more information on what we are about and what our fight entails, please visit us on Facebook:
Last edited:


Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater

Thanks for joining up and providing the additional information.
I appreciate all you've done towards better WDFW transparency in these processes.

I hope folks keep in mind that these issues go beyond just salmon.
We know that some of the local streams were closed to fishing for gamefish last year due to salmon.
I hope those streams are going to be open this fall at least for gamefish.

I like fishing the sound for both salmon and cutthroat (gamefish).
I don't want to see Puget Sound go the way some of the rivers have lately. Close Puget Sound for salmon and then they could potentially add gamefish into the mix. If that happened, there goes our saltwater cutthroat fishing.
If you like fishing the sound for salmon or cutthroat and want to continue to do so, you need to get involved!
Continue to make calls and send emails.
We all know how easy it is to close fisheries and how difficult it is to get them opened back up again

Email submitted asking the commission to vote yes.
Last edited:
Thank you all for the letters and for the support. It is only through our numbers that we have any strength at all. There are a heck of a lot more of us than any other user group. If only we could laser focus on an issue and put all our energy into fixing it. For me, it is ending secrets in our fisheries!

Latest posts