FRESNO, CALIF. -- California's iconic native salmon, which has been hard hit by historic drought and high temperatures, avoided a third disastrous year, federal officials said Thursday.

The number of juvenile winter-run Chinook salmon spawning on the Sacramento River in Northern California and swimming out to sea has doubled from 2015, and it's significantly up from the prior year, officials said.

California has experienced five years of drought. The fishing industry and farmers in California's fertile Central Valley are in a constant struggle over the same river water to sustain their livelihoods.

The fish — federally protected as an endangered species — were bolstered by heavy rainstorms in March, said Maria Rea of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries' Central Valley Office.

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