GSSA is California’s leading voice for salmon protection and restoration, particularly in the Bay-Delta ecosystem, which produces most of the salmon caught in the state.  Our board represents the entire California salmon community, including commercial and recreational fishermen, charter boat skippers, inland river guides, restaurants, fishing manufacturers and retailers, tribal members and more.

John McManus

President

Current GSSA president. McManus is a former media director for Earthjustice, a national environmental non-profit, a lifelong conservationist, former commercial and current recreational fisherman, and a former 15 year news executive with CNN.

Cat Kaiser

Events Manager

Cat Kaiser, the events manager at Golden State Salmon Association joined the team in February of 2018. Cat came to GSSA after years of traveling, and a long career in the wine and hospitality industry.  Her time is spent working on GSSA’s fundraising dinners, administrative and legislative projects, and assisting the GSSA President and board of directors with all things salmon.  In her free time Cat can be found on the ocean fishing for salmon, tuna, and anything else that swims, or on a mountainous river in a drift boat with her golden doodle Scarlet, and a fly rod chasing steelhead, rainbow and brown trout. 

Barry Nelson

Policy Advisor

GSSA policy consultant Barry Nelson is the former executive director of Save the Bay, a former director of the Natural Resourced Defense Council (NRDC) California water team, and an expert on complex Bay-Delta water policy.  He’s also an accomplished whitewater guide, with experience ranging from running California’s salmon rivers to the Grand Canyon and Alaska.  

Dennis Whitaker

Marketing Director

A Southern California native, Dennis moved up to Northern California three years ago with his family. With a Degree in Technology and Multimedia, he began his career at a marketing agency in Los Angeles and then spent 11 years in the mortgage industry as a product manager for Equator/Altisource. Once up North, Dennis worked for Astra Digital Marketing as the Manager of Technology and Operations and is thrilled to now be at GSSA where he is able to combine his love for marketing with his passion for fishing and conservation. 

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Mike Aughney

Vice Chair and Executive Committee Member

Mike Aughney, is one of the original board members of GSSA and has pursued salmon his entire life. Mike is a former commercial fisherman and creator of USAfishing.com. He spent many years working as a deck hand on party boats around the Bay area in his 20’s.

After retiring from the Marin Muni Water District in 2017, he now spends much of his time fishing from his second home in Alaska and currently co-owns the 6 pack boat Reel Magic out of Bodega Bay.

Mike is very knowledgeable when it comes to salmon conservation and is also really good at catching them and sharing with others the thrill of this important fishery.

John Atkinson

GSSA board member John Atkinson is the owner and operator of the Sausalito charter boat, New Rayann.  John, AKA ‘Johnny Fresh’, is also on the board for the Golden Gate Fishermen’s Association and serves as the charter boat representative on the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s Salmon Advisory sub panel. When Johnny isn’t catching and protecting salmon, he may be out fishing commercial Dungeness crab or spending time with his family and grandson.

Sarah Bates

Commercial salmon troller

Mike Bogue

One of the Sacramento River’s best fishing guides.

Robert Boucke

Owner Johnson’s Bait, Yuba City, Fish and Game Advisory Commissioner, District 3 Sutter County.

Hunt Conrad

A former commercial and current recreational angler and writer of a weekly fishing column.

Joe Donatini

Owner Johnson Hicks Marine Electronics, Santa Cruz, and Sausalito.

Marc Gorelnik

Executive Committee member

GSSA director and executive committee member Marc Gorelnik is also the Chairman for Coastside Fishing Club, a Half Mon Bay-based non-profit and the vice chair of the Pacific Fisheries Management Council.  He is also the general counsel for the American Sportfishing Association. When Marc isn’t saving salmon, catching salmon, or traveling, he raises Dutch Partridge dogs (Drents), cats and bees. 

Chris Lawson

Commercial salmon and crab fisherman with roots that go back generations in the Tomales Bay and Bodega Bay area.

Ben Harris

Executive director, Monterey Salmon and Trout Project

Don Newman

National Sales Manager for P-Line, a leading fishing tackle company. Don is a lifelong fisherman and one of the best steelhead fishermen on the west coast.

Adam Messner

Entrepreneur, outdoorsman.

Brian J. Layng

GSSA board member Brian Layng is President & owner of the International Sportsmen’s Expositions (ISE).  ISE presents adventure-travel, hunting, fishing, shooting sports, boat, recreational vehicles and powersports products to millions of consumers in four key western markets.  Before taking over ISE, Brian was a top executive for Levi Strauss Company and later a much sought after international marketing expert.

Originally from Maine where lobster is king, Brian has appreciated the great outdoors all his life, including on his adopted West Coast.

Rick Powers

Captain, New Sea Angler, a charter boat out of Bodega Bay.

Dick Pool

Secretary and Executive Committee member

Dick is currently the owner of Pro-Troll Inc., a veteran Central Valley salmon advocate and activist going back to the listing of winter-run salmon in the late 1980’s.

Before getting into the fishing tackle business, Dick put in his first career at Kaiser Aluminum as an executive overseeing corporate costs and energy.  After retiring from Kaiser he turned to his next career in fishing tackle where he started by designing the world’s best downrigger, the Scotty.  Dick wrote on the secrets of using downriggers and later on using electrical charges to attract salmon.  He helped create one of the first “black boxes” used to control the charges on a downrigger cable.  Dick was among the first to use underwater videography to document salmon being drawn into, and biting, various lures and baits.  Based on that research, he wrote two books and produced three movies on how to catch salmon.   

Dick went on to found Pro Troll and brought the salmon world the rotary salmon killer bait holder and many innovative types of flashers, among many other tackle products. 

He has served on numerous state and federal salmon advisory committees and testified as an expert witness on salmon issues before the California Legislature and the U.S. House of Representatives. In 2009, he received the American Sportfishing Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his Salmon and Steelhead conservation work. In 2019, he was inducted into the California Outdoor Hall of Fame for his salmon conservation and education work. We are lucky to have his knowledge, passion and determination on our team.

Caleen Sisk

Chief of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, along the McCloud River watershed.

Randy Repass

Chair and Executive Committee member

Randy is President of Repass Rodgers Foundation and founder of West Marine, Inc. where he served in roles including CEO, Chairman and Board member.  The company was sold in 2017.  He is a founding member of GSSA.  Randy has a BSEE from Duke University.

Randy has served as commodore of the Santa Cruz Yacht Club, as a director and President of Sail America, the US sailing industry association, as a director of the National Marine Manufacturers Association, and as a member of Government Affairs at American Sportfishing Association.  As Co-chair of Action Pajaro Valley he was active in collaborative planning for the area.  For many years he has been and remains active in marine conservation for the benefit of the marine environment, boaters and fishermen.

Ted Wilson

GSSA director Ted Wilson is a food and hospitality entrepreneur with special expertise in catering foods using sustainable, seasonal, local ingredients. Ted appreciates fostering community which is evident at The Alice Collective, a café he created in downtown Oakland. He also owns and runs the William Tell House, Marin County’s oldest restaurant, bar and inn located in the town of Tomales.

Vance Staplin

Vance Staplin is a former inland rivers fishing guide. He now represents multiple lines of fishing and outdoor gear and deals with outdoors folks throughout the state.

David Zeff

Treasurer and Executive Committee

Attorney and environmentalist.