Scientists and environmentalists counting steelhead in Central Coast rivers are finding more young fish making their way out to sea.
"It's always good news when you see these initial counts being on the positive side."
Curtis Knight is with the San Francisco-based conservation group California Trout. He says one reason for the apparent comeback is the mild summer.
"Temperature's definitely a driver and the cooler the temperatures are the better off they do."
In 1997, the steelhead was listed as a threatened species. Knight says this year's preliminary numbers bode well for a fish population that once boomed along the Central Coast.
"There's a lot of interest in steelhead for a variety of different reasons whether you're out there fishing for them or commercially, they're an important part of our economy."
Steelhead spawn in freshwater rivers and creeks, spend most of their lives in the ocean and return to their home stream to spawn.