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In Pictures: California sails toward biggest salmon harvest in years

Updated : 2019-08-23 11:08:11

Trolling off the California coast, Sarah Bates leans over the side of her boat and pulls out a long, silvery fish prized by anglers and seafood lovers: wild king salmon. Reeling in a fish "feels good every time," but this year has been surprisingly good, said Bates, a commercial troller based in San Francisco. She and other 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, an iconic species that helps sustain many Pacific Coast fishing communities. Commercial salmon catches have surpassed official preseason forecasts by about 50 percent, said Kandice Morgenstern, a marine scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Harvests have been particularly strong in Morro Bay, Monterey and San Francisco, but weaker along California's northern coast. "We're really surprised to be seeing this many fish being landed so far this season," Morgenstern said. The salmon rebound comes after three years of extremely low catches that resulted from poor ocean conditions and California's five-year drought, which drained the state's rivers and reservoirs.

In this photo taken Monday, July 22, 2019, Cooper Campbell, right, with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, looks for chinook salmon that are from their hatchery project at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
In this photo taken Monday, July 22, 2019, Cooper Campbell, right, with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, looks for chinook salmon that are from their hatchery project at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
In this photo taken Monday, July 22, 2019, a boat with chinook salmon makes its way to Fisherman's Wharf to unload its catch in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
In this photo taken Monday, July 22, 2019, a boat with chinook salmon makes its way to Fisherman's Wharf to unload its catch in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
In this photo taken Monday, July 22, 2019, Ivan Montoya, left, of Flannery Seafood, holds up chinook salmon after it was brought in by Ron Kemp, right, at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
In this photo taken Monday, July 22, 2019, Ivan Montoya, left, of Flannery Seafood, holds up chinook salmon after it was brought in by Ron Kemp, right, at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
In this photo taken Monday, July 22, 2019, Mark Adams, right, unloads chinook salmon inside a cooperative at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
In this photo taken Monday, July 22, 2019, Mark Adams, right, unloads chinook salmon inside a cooperative at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
In this photo taken Monday, July 22, 2019, chinook salmon is seen after being unloaded at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
In this photo taken Monday, July 22, 2019, chinook salmon is seen after being unloaded at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
In this photo taken Wednesday, July 17, 2019, Sarah Bates hauls in a chinook salmon on the fishing boat Bounty near Bolinas, Calif. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
In this photo taken Wednesday, July 17, 2019, Sarah Bates hauls in a chinook salmon on the fishing boat Bounty near Bolinas, Calif. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
In this photo taken July 17, 2019, Sarah Bates fishes for chinook salmon on her boat Bounty off the coast of Bolinas, Calif. (AP Photo/Terry Chea)
In this photo taken July 17, 2019, Sarah Bates fishes for chinook salmon on her boat Bounty off the coast of Bolinas, Calif. (AP Photo/Terry Chea)
In this photo taken Monday, July 22, 2019, Mike Hudson unloads chinook salmon off his boat at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
In this photo taken Monday, July 22, 2019, Mike Hudson unloads chinook salmon off his boat at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
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