The Fishing and Marine Industry Daily News Feed

Chinook Return to California’s Far North – With A Lot of Human Help

Chinook salmon haven’t spawned in the McCloud River for more than 80 years. But last summer, thousands of juveniles were born in the waters of this remote tributary, miles upstream of Shasta Dam.

The young Chinook salmon — some now finger-sized smolts in mid-migration toward the Pacific Ocean — are part of a state and federal experiment that could help make the McCloud a salmon river once again.

Winter-run Chinook were federally listed as endangered in 1994, but recent years have been especially hard for the fish. Facing severe drought and warm river conditions, most winter-run salmon born naturally in the Sacramento River have perished over the past three years.

So restoring Chinook to the McCloud has become an urgent priority for state and federal officials. In the first year of a drought-response project, about 40,000 salmon eggs were brought back to the McCloud, a picturesque river in the wilderness of the Cascade mountains.

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