The Current Magazine Winter 2016/17 - Page 9

Photo by Sebastian Vido

In fact, there are already some encouraging signs of the potential for a major recovery, most notably from several years of Chinook salmon returning in much larger numbers to the river before the drought struck. Darren Mierau, the North Coast Director for CalTrout, sees ample evidence of the turnaround. "Conditions have improved remarkably since the 1970s and 1980s, when population abundance probably hit its nadir," he says. "I think we already have a fairly healthy Chinook salmon run. And some of the fishing guides think there are tens of thousands of steelhead coming into the river based on their fishing success in recent years. It's anecdotal evidence, but it aligns with observations of large numbers of fish from volunteers in the area who are counting fish."