STINSON BEACH (AP) -- The sleek, flapping salmon that fishermen hauled aboard the rolling Salty Lady charter boat near the Golden Gate Bridge were the survivors of the survivors.
After five years of drought, the native Chinook salmon that the men were reeling in this past week were there only because state and federal agencies have stepped in to do much of the salmon-raising that California's overtapped rivers once did. Most of the fish were born at the agencies' hatcheries and carried in trucks for release downstream.
As the men watched and waited for one of their fishing poles to dip sharply, Victor Gonella, president of the Golden Gate Salmon Association, remembered his childhood in the 1950s and 1960s when the salmon population was healthy enough that he could fish most months.
Gonella recounted fishermen struggling to land salmon that had made their way to the Pacific Ocean from the San Joaquin River in particular, the fish powerful from muscling their own way from river to ocean.
These days, he said, "if it weren't for these fish that were trucked, we wouldn't be fishing."