It is looking like it may be a big year for salmon and steelhead returning to the local rivers. This writer observed the fish at the Hazel Avenue hatchery on December 7. The access ponds at the top of the fish ladder were full with many very large salmon. I may have seen a cluster of steelhead as well. The hatchery was spawning the fish on a twice a week schedule. Opening day on the American is January 1.
The hatchery on the Mokelumne is reporting record returns of salmon and steelhead. The run is on track to break the record run of 18,000 fish in 2011 that went over Woodbridge Dam near Lodi. That year, 15,922 salmon were trapped by the fish hatchery.