Chinook Catch Data for San Juan Islands

Results of Recent Salmon Fishing Derbies in San Juan County

As you read these numbers, try to guess which group is being blamed for poor sport Chinook catches.

The Derbies below are usually accompanied by pictures in local newspapers of the winning fish and the proud sport fishermen who caught them.

The winner often gets a large cash prize and the various sport gear manufactures give rods, reels and so forth as additional prizes, in this so-called non-commercial sport fishery.

Sport Fishing Derbies

1997 Einar Nielsen & Becky Barr Memorial Fishing Classic September 25-September 28, 1997
Participants Unknown  
Salmon Entered 181  
Species (15 Chinook Salmon)  
1997 Deer Harbor Marina Derby December 5-6 1997
Participants 69  
Salmon Entered Unknown  
Species 133 Chinook Salmon  
1998 American Legion Post #93 Fishing Derby January 16-18, 1998
Participants 104  
Salmon Entered 78  
Species Chinook Salmon  
1998 Rosario Salmon Derby March 6-8, 1998
Participants 300  
Salmon Entered 115  
Species Chinook Salmon  

Commercial Catch of Chinook Salmon

  Commercial Catch of Chinook Salmon  
Area 7 (San Juan Islands) Chinook Salmon Catch Prior to August 18, 1997 Closure
Fishery Chinook Recorded As Caught Percent of Total Chinook Catch
Treaty Indian Purse Seine 1,636 51.3%
Treaty Indian Gillnet 630 19.7%
Non-Treaty Non-Indian Reefnet 485 15.2%
Non-Treaty Non-Indian Purse Seine 254 8%
Non-Treaty Non-Indian Gillnet 186 5.8%/td>

Treaty Indian Commercial Catch

Total Treaty Indian Commercial Catch 2,266
Total Non-Treaty Non-Indian Commercial Catch 925
Total Commercial Catch 3,191

Total Treaty Indian Commercial Catch by Area

Area 7 & 7A (North of San Juan Islands) Total King Salmon Catch July-September, 1997
Fishery Chinook Recorded As Caught Percent of Total Chinook Catch
Treaty Indian Total 22,109 56.7%
Non-Treaty Non-Indian Purse Seine 9,777 25.1%
*Estimated Sport 5,894 15.1%
Non-Treaty Non-Indian Reefnet 498 1.3%
Non-Treaty Non-Indian Gillnet 707 1.8%

Catch Totals of All Groups

Total Treaty Indian 22,109 56.7%
Total Non-Treaty Non-Indian 10,982 28.2%
*Estimated Sport Total 5,894 15.1%
Total of All Commercial and Sport 38,985 100%

*The sport king salmon catch estimate is based on the 1997 pre-season forecast for the entire year in the area. Actual Figures not available, due to Harvest Management Policies which only use guesses. In other words the numbers reported are someones best guess, and the actual sport king salmon catch numbers are very likely higher by several orders of magnitude.

The Sport number is a very conservative guess. The Commercial number is a recorded fact.

Catch Days by Group

Total Number of Days Allowed to Fish Chinook Area 7 & 7A 1997
Treaty Indian Total Days 24 Days Area 7 & 7A 2 Days Area 7A Only 26 Total Fishing Days
Treaty Indian Total Days     26 Total Fishing Days
Non-Treaty Purse Seine Total Days 7 Days Area 7 & 7A 9 Days Area 7A Only 16 Total Fishing Days
Non-Treaty Gillnet Total Days 7 Days Area 7 & 7A 8 Days Area 7A Only 15 Total Fishing Days
Non-Treaty Reefnet Total Days 30 Days Area 7 & 7A   30 Total Fishing Days
Total Non-Treaty Non-Indian Days     61 Combined Total Fishing Days
Sport Fishing Total Days 365 Days Area 7 & 7A   365 Consecutive Total Fishing Days

(All data based on WDF&W reports for 1997. Some non-treaty openings overlap)

Now guess which group is being blamed for poor sport catches. If you answered the Treaty Indians, you’d be wrong. It’s the Non-Treaty, Non-Indian Gillnetters who are being singled out!

Remember all these Chinook are about to be Listed as Threatened, but only one group – who only fished 15 days on these fish and caught a total of 707 Chinook – (The Non-Treaty, Non-Indian Gillnetters) is to blame, and only one group- who fished 365 days on these fish and caught a total of 5,894 Chinook – (The Sports) insists that they want to catch more of them.

This is Washington State Fisheries’ political management at it’s finest.

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