Jay W Nicholas

Current Employment Status:

Retired (almost, ha ha).

Long story short.  I entered the semi-retired world on January 1 2014.

I remain unequivocally committed to helping people sort out the complexities of salmon science, the historical record of fish management and fish stocks in Oregon, and efforts to keep Oregon’s wild salmon strong as the future becomes today.  Sadly, I see people coming along who have little grasp on what fisheries resources we have today, what was here in the century and a half before, how the changes occurred, and what options, really, are open to us in the future.

Meanwhile, pardon me, but I’m goin’ fishin’.


Here is a quick snapshot of some dusty old information about my past life.  This is the stuff that boring introductory biographies are made of, and do little to truly describe a person’s heart and soul.  But for the record……


Wild Salmon Hall of Fame

In 2006, Jay was inducted to the Wild Salmon Hall of Fame by the Pacific Northwest Salmon Center.  This honor recognized over three decades of scientific excellence, creativity, education, commitment to conservation work, and respect for community values and traditions.

Professional Excellence

Oregon Trout – Fisheries Scientist of the Year

American Fisheries Society – Fishery Worker of the Year

Oregon Department of Fisheries and Wildlife – Researcher of the Year

Northwest Steelheaders – Annual Fisheries Award

Oregon Governor’s Office – Oregon Plan Leadership Award


Working for Governor John Kitzhaber, Jay was Team Leader and Principal Writer of the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds, an innovative public-private effort to conserve salmon, water quality, and watershed function, providing sustainable environmental, cultural, and social benefits.


Inspired by commitment to salmon and the quality of life in the Pacific Northwest, Jay wrote and illustrated a  story about The Oregon Plan for salmon and Watersheds and the general issue of salmon conservation, donating proceeds from book sales to the Oregon Youth Conservation Corps.

Down To The Sea has been placed in every Fifth grade classroom throughout Oregon.


Jay was among a select group of salmon experts invited to write a chapter for Salmon 2100: The Future of Wild Pacific Salmon.

“So there you have it.  Saving wild salmon isn’t a luxury after all.  We can save salmon and we can save ourselves – if we choose to.  We can build a future that is bright for salmon and people – if we choose to.”

“Consider that it might not be nearly as difficult to save wild salmon as some people make it out to be.”


– BS, General Science, Oregon State University (1971)

– MS, Fisheries and Wildlife, Oregon State University (1977)

Work History

– Lt. US Navy, assigned USS NEW DD818 1971-74; Gunnery Officer; Nuclear Weapons Officer; Surface Warfare Qualified Officer of the Deck

– Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife; 1977 – 2007

-Wild Salmln Center, Senior Salmon Scientist; 2007 – 2014