Jason Assonitis

My name is Jason Assonitis and I fish in the Southern part of the Salish Sea.

I started fishing for salmon with my grandfather in the 1980s. Being on the water and being around salmon and fishing for salmon has always been very important to me. My passion for salmon fishing led me to starting up Bon Chovy Fishing Charters and I have been fortunate to be a salmon fishing guide for over 20 years. I feel very connected to salmon and I take pride in contributing to research where ever I can to help sustain and support the recovery of salmon populations. 

David Korsch

David Korsch caught the fishing bug young during the odd fishing trip for trout, bottom fish, and salmon. By the age of six, every summer (and most weekends throughout the year) were spent at the family’s cottage in Halfmoon Bay, and fishing became an obsession. Hundreds of hours each year were spent in pursuit of Chinook and Coho salmon, and a vast knowledge of their habits and movements was being created as angling skills were honed.

In 1986, at 22 years old, David began his professional guiding career. He was hired by the fledgling “Vancouver Fish-on Guiding Services”, operating out of Whytecliff Park in West Vancouver, as a summer job while he finished up his last years at the University of British Columbia. During the following summer, David decided to continue guiding for “Fish-on” while attempting to find a permanent job. His degree in Forest Resource Management, with a heavy emphasis on stream rehabilitation and fisheries, had very limited job opportunities during the late 1980’s, and most potential jobs would have required him to move to the interior regions of British Columbia - away from his saltwater salmon fishing.

David continued to guide for “Fish-on” during subsequent years while continuing to look for his ideal permanent job. During the spring of 1990, after four years of guiding for “Fish-on”, the operation was absorbed by Sewell’s Marina. David bought his first boat in order to join Sewell’s fleet of charter boat owner/operators, and “Predator Charters” was born.

A member of Shimano’s field staff, David is presently one of Vancouver’s most experienced saltwater guides. his many thousands of hours guiding in the area, and his attention to detail has made David one of Vancouver’s most consistently productive charter skippers. David also works with Fisheries and Oceans Canada tagging any released Chinook, and he began collecting a DNA sample from each fish (released or retained) in 1998. He is pushing Fisheries to begin a Chinook DNA study in order to help get a better picture of their migration and growth patterns, so he began collecting the DNA so the raw data will be there if they decide to begin the study.

“Predator Charters” operates year round, as the winter is David’s favourite time of year to fish personally. The winter Chinook fishery takes more knowledge and skill in order to be consistently productive, hence he finds successful encounters with winter Chinook more rewarding.

Being a real student of what drives salmon to feed, having a background in fisheries management, and a desire to unravel all the intricacies of the winter fishery, David began a detailed analysis of his catches. Since 1990, he has recorded very specific information about all salmon caught aboard the “Predator” - especially Chinook. This catch data and analysis is located in “Catch Records”, and any serious angler will find the information very interesting as tide, moon phase, and barometric pressure results will have applications world wide.

Rick Hackinen

My name is Rick Hackinen and I've been a salmon fishing guide for 40 years in the Campbell River and Quadra island area. There certainly have been changes over that time. Sharing the fishing experience has always been the most fulfilling part of fishing for me.  

I'm involved in some efforts at the local level for the future of fishing. I am the Chair of the Campbell River and District Fishing Guides Association, a member of the local Sport Fishing Advisory Committee, and an Avid Angler. I've always been interested in everything about the life histories of salmon. Now more than ever, recording the catch and taking tissue samples are fundamentally important to learn about for resource management. Participating in Operation Bottleneck, sampling Year 1 Chinooks and coho, just feels like a good thing to do for the future of the salmon that have been good to me.  

Richard Leischner

My name is Richard Leischner. I live in Nanaimo and fish both sides of the central island primarily. I’ve been a boat owner for almost 20 years now. My biggest passion in life outside of family has always been fishing. My father started taking me out on the ocean when I was a very young boy. From those early years I was hooked! I’ve spent the better part of my entire life fishing both fresh and salt water. One of the best things about fishing is simply leaving the dock and all that stress behind. Once I’m on the water there’s no such thing as a bad time. Whether you catch or not doesn’t matter to me, it’s the experience of being out there, learning, and enjoying every moment. I was offered the opportunity last year to help out with the PSF Bottlenecks project and jumped on the chance to assist. Now as I get a little older I have realized that science is integral in order for us as a whole to ensure that fish remain in these waters for my children and their children beyond. My hopes are that with enough science backing the industry we can create and maintain a future salmon fishery for generations ahead. I’m super excited to be a part of this program for as long as the PSF and BCCF will have me!

Cheers and tight lines!

Tom Poulton

Tom Poulton is the owner-operator-guide of Tips Up Fishing Adventures and a resident of the Sunshine Coast for 44 years.  Tom has been in the guiding business for 25 plus years and spent a majority of his time fishing North West side of the Salish Sea in Areas 14, 15, 16 and 29. 

Tom has a life time passion for fishing and enjoys contributing to the conservation of salmon and research in the sport fishing industry through the PSF Bottlenecks micro trolling and the Avid Angler projects. Tom hopes his contribution to these projects will benefit the local culture of fishing for generations to come.  

Find more info about Tom at  www.tipsup.ca/ or  follow Tom on Twitter  https://twitter.com/FishwithTom  or Instagram https://www.instagram.com/tipsupfishing/

Curtis Smith

I’m Curtis Smith, owner of Coastal Wilderness Adventures a Saltwater and Freshwater fishing charter company in Campbell River. We have just finished our 21st season in business.

Not only is my fishing charter a business to sustain my family and the families of my guides, it’s also a passion.  My passion for recreational fishing is what led me to this career and is something that myself and my family enjoy outside of just chartering.  It’s a way of life for many in Campbell River and of course BC.  Having access to nature, fish, wildlife, mountains and so much outdoors that BC has to offer is ingrained in my being. Keeping these things pristine and healthy is important.  

For my entire career I’ve always known there is science at play, but it’s really only the last few years that myself and others in the industry are really paying attentions to how important the science really is. Governments need and must use the science for decisions that impact these fisheries. Getting involved the science by collecting real world rec sportfishing data is something I had to get behind.  These last few years, I have been jumping into the log books, collecting DNA samples and tagging salmon and this has been a big part of what we do with guests. Over our 21 years we’ve always had fish we’ve had to release or chose to release. Many of us in the industry have developed slick methods for a safe release – even with getting a picture for guests – so that the fish swim away healthy and strong to go on their journey.  Now, with parts of the south coast under catch and release rules only for parts of the season, we really wanted be involved in any program of tagging released fish to show the very low mortality rate of professional charter operations. It’s been an honour for sure to be a part of what PSF and BCCF are doing with their PIT tag programs.


Steve Veloso

Hello, I’m Steve Veloso owner operator of Island Pursuit Sport Fishing in Comox B.C.

My family has generations of fishing history in the Comox Valley and the west coast of Canada. My grandparents own the local fish market in town, my father is a well-known commercial fisherman and I have had Island Pursuit for 16 years.

I grew up and started fishing during the 90’s when many of the salmon stocks were at a low. Over the last 10 years we have seen such an amazing increase in the health of the Salish Sea and salmon stocks. I am now a fully committed sport fishing company owner with 3 vessels and operate year-round. We are in a time where science is at the forefront of DFO decisions. I want to be a part of providing good data to show people what we are experiencing, help understand how we can maintain the ecosystem and, of course, provide excellent salmon fishing experiences for years to come.