Off the hook: California king salmon rebounds after drought

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VALLEJO, CA – APRIL 22: Workers with the Fishery Foundation of California move a barge filled with thousands of fingerling Chinook salmon that will be released into the Mare Island Strait on April 22, 2014 in Vallejo, California. As California continues to suffer through its worse drought in history, low water levels on the state’s rivers have forced wildlife officials to truck an estimated 30 million young Chinook salmon hundreds of miles toward the Pacific Ocean in tanker trucks lto assist the fish with migration. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – California fishermen are reporting one of the best salmon fishing seasons in years, thanks to heavy rain and snow that ended the state’s historic drought.

It’s a sharp reversal for chinook salmon, also known as king salmon. The iconic fish helps sustain many Pacific Coast fishing communities.

A marine scientist with California’s fish and wildlife agency says commercial catches have so far surpassed official preseason forecasts by roughly 50%.

The salmon rebound comes after three years of extremely low catches resulting from poor ocean conditions and California’s five-year drought.

This year’s adult salmon are the first class to benefit from record rainfall that filled California rivers and streams in early 2017, making it easier for juvenile chinook to migrate to the Pacific Ocean.

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