As I don't kill a lot of hatchery fish, release most especially on the Columbia if their not bleeding, except summer chins, so the whole hatchery/wild thing is not a normal concern.
On my first tuna trip this summer I was actually looking for adipose fins.....force of habit....
(Their all wild btw)
What we see are a lot of are partial clips, now if I kept more hatchery fish it would bother me more, fins cut by a laser as the fry are shot thru a tube, not an exact science I guess.
It just gets old playing fish, like during my summer Chinook fishery, and instead of enjoying the moment your just focused on whether it has a fin or not.
I'll tell you what, you keep an illegal fish and your asking for trouble. You might get away with it, but is that little 3lb trout worth losing your boat.
This happened to my Uncle.....about 15 years ago.
We have a big winter-run fishery on the Chehalis R (The Chehalis watershed is huge).... its mostly a muddy water on anchor egg show, as most of the fish come on the big freshets...and we're targeting the lower river... now I'm talking 20 plus fish days at times, really big numbers...lots of fun. Some monster 20 plus pound red stripe wild SH in the mix
during Jan thru early Mar too. Most fish are 7-12 ish lbs.
Anyway, we were straight up legal at all times, only keeping a hatchery bleeder or a few hatch females most trips just to keep us in fresh cured sodium sulfite eggs day to day. So that's how it went season after season, fish the high waters on.down, big numbers, yada yada.
Hardly ever see another boat.....paradise.
Well paradise, was about to go to hell.
One year there was a lot of killing of wild fish, locals were doing it....finally the FnG started watching the river closer, including the area we would run our jet boats and anchor up. Some plunking shacks in the area too....this area has an access road due to the Nuke plant water pump houses, the cooling towers for the nuke plant, was never finished, you can see from the highway headed to Aberdeen. So this area does have a few bankies...the ones that were killing wild fish.
So one day my two Uncles made a trip, I didn't go on that one, but it was a normal trip, good fishing, but at the end of the trip they caught a little wild SH that was bleeding out and for some asinine reason they decided to keep it....(only fish they kept, released about a dozen other hatchery and wild fish that trip as shown on FnG videos....
Bad Things are about to happen.
So with their illegal fish onboard they ran back up to the Fuller Bridge ramp, and there was 3 Fish n Game rigs waiting for them.
What they didn't know was they were being watched that whole trip, including video taping.
As soon as they hit the ramp FnG immediately swarmed the boat, they ask one question, did you keep any wild fish. Long story short, my Uncle's explained why they kept the fish, ect. IT DID NOT MATTER. "But....We released a dozen SH....including Wild SH.."..IT DID NOT MATTER....My Uncle that caught the fish was put in handcuffs, his boat and tow rig were seized.
Keeping that little bleeder SH cost my Uncle over 10k in legal fees and fines. He lost his license for a year, he didn't even get his boat back for 6 months.
I trust my Uncle, he has never lied to me, I'm also a big supporter of Law Enforcement, but, according to my Uncle, those arresting Officers made up some BS about what they did at the hearing, they set out to make an example of him and they fabricated some things to make things seem worse. This hung over his head for 10 years. This guy is a Saint on the river, just made a stupid choice.
So....next time anyone has thoughts of keeping that little bleeder, is it worth losing your boat and thousands of dollars in fines and legal fees.
I'm no angel, forget to pinch barbs sometimes, whatever, and I look
long and hard sometimes at those big 30lb plus wild summer chinook, but you'll never find an illegal fish on my boat, just not worth it.