Thanks Rivrguy. That point about fall Chinook not wanting to enter Forks Creek is significant. The Willapa just seems like the location best suited to raising hatchery Chinook without adversely affecting a wild population, even if what we really mean is restoring a wild population from the extant hatchery stock, given that all WB Chinook are the same genetic stock.
Functional weir or not, it seems like having a restored Naselle wild Chinook population and a significant hatchery population is working at cross purposes. If Chinook return well to Nemah, and the Nemah hatchery is in or could be made to be in good enough shape, maybe it would be the logical location for hatchery Chinook production. It's such a creek though, I figure it may contribute to a lot of Chinook straying.
Figuring out what to do obviously depends on the management objectives and what I like to describe as "the desired future condition." In my desired outcome, WDFW would quit pissing away tax dollars on 3 hatcheries for the primary purpose of enhancing BC ocean fishing, WA coast mixed stock ocean fishing, and the welfare gillnet commercial fishery in WB. Next, I would like to see WB used to maximize its natural salmon production potential, which mainly means coho and chum, with NOR Chinook as relatively incidental, if we let Mother Nature tell her story. My inclinations are not a very good fit with the preferences of WDFW and the welfare gillnetters.
In considering the most appropriate stream to designate PRIMARY, it was argued that WB could be schematically/geographically seen as outer, middle, and inner bay.... being fed respectively by Willapa, Nemah, and Naselle.
With Naselle being at the veritable "end of the line", the minds of the day felt it neither wise nor appropriate to expect those Naselle fish to traverse the full gauntlet of nets at the far end of the bay if conservation of wild Naselle fish was the ultimate goal.
It was thought that we might be more successful at getting wild fish past the fishery if a more proximal stream were selected for wild priority (namely Willapa) as it would be easier for managers to reduce the exploitation of those fish in the bay.
The plan parsed the bay into north and south sectors, prioritized for rec and commercial respectively. With rec dominating in the north bay, the more compatible and selective fishery was placed on the Primary population. By placing the nets in the south of the bay, it would help to minimize encounters with Willapa River origin wilds.
Hope this helps you guys to better understand the rationale for these designations.
"Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." (Zane Grey)
"If you don't kill them, they will spawn." (Carcassman)