For sure, that where the fish are you will usually have company has long been true. Of course, when there are good numbers around, there are plenty of biters to go around as well, so crowds aren't really a problem. Heck, Buoy 10 is a complete cluster, but almost everyone gets their fish, because there are a lot around (relatively speaking). I won't comment on how that fishery impacts every tributary, big and small, upstream. That's for another thread.Maybe we have forgotten what it used to be like back in the 70’s - 80’s when you left in the morning not knowing if the spot or run you decided on would have 1 or 2 guys or ugh more. If we chose a certain run for the morning you just expected there would be guys there because that usually meant fish were being caught in that area. Of course you had 50 times more places to choose from but there were always someone around. I think about the Springer season down on the Columbia, if you have trouble sharing water down there then you best stay home.
I would trade what we have now in a nanosecond for the busy, guys everywhere like it was in the 70’s. Had a blast back then & got to know some good folks on the river.
Back to the point, these days, we have crowds fishing over consistently weak numbers. You not only need a rock, but you need the best rock, and you practically have to camp on top of it overnight to get it.
I only wish I had been here in the 70s or 80s, but even I have noticed significant reductions in opportunity and quality in my 20+ years. Even I can remember a LOT more access to fishable water (with fish in it!!!). Not sure anything can be done short of letting more salmon return, so yeah, as far as I can tell, they are aquarium fish from here on out.