Return of the King: Salmon Is Back - NBC Bay Area

Return of the King: Salmon Is Back

2012 will be known as the year of the salmon, after the fish's recovery.



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    California's chinook salmon -- the king salmon, the oily, fleshy, fish feast beloved the world over -- has made a full comeback, with recreational fishing trips reaching their allotment of fish after four long years of meager catches, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

    In 2010, the commercial salmon season lasted all of four days in California, according to the newspaper. There was no season at all in 2008 and 2009, meaning "local" salmon was either an outright lie or a near-renegade enterprise.

    This year, some 820,000 salmon are expected to spawn on the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the most in seven years, according to the newspaper.

    Sean Hodges, a fishing trip expedition leader interviewed by the newspaper, boasted of trips with every passenger catching the allotment of two fish this year, which has been open for recreational fishers for three weeks. The commercial season opened last week.

    Chinook salmon is still pricey -- the fish fetches $22 a pound on the market currently, in part because strong winds have kept fishing fleets docked in port, the newspaper reported.

    Nonetheless, its flavor and its health benefits -- both granted by the omega-3 fatty acids -- as well as its versatility in preparation mean the popular fish will be a mealtime staple at increased levels this year -- no need to import it from Alaska or even further away.

    Don't like it? Be glad you aren't in Hodges's family, where an eight-pound fish feeds his wife and children for four days, he told the newspaper.