Fox News Weather Center

Salmon Travel by Truck as Calif. Drought Turns River Route Into 'Deadly Gauntlet'

Baby salmon have been taking a road trip by land instead of the normal river route because of the extended California drought.

The 2016 fishing season will rely on the survival of the salmon hatchlings hitching a ride to the Delta, according to a recent press release. California's salmon industry currently rakes in $1.4 billion, annually, and employs tens of thousands of people from Santa Barbara to northern Oregon.

"As more and more fresh water is extracted from the Sacramento River and Delta for delivery to San Joaquin Valley agribusiness, the salmon's migration corridor downstream and through the Bay-Delta estuary has become a deadly gauntlet," Zeke Grader, who is the executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations and vice chairman of the Golden Gate Salmon Association, said.

"Add drought, and the Central Valley rivers and Delta become virtually impassable for salmon."

The salmon-truck run goes from Coleman National Fish Hatchery near Redding, Calif., to the San Francisco Bay and its delta. California officials also planned similar efforts, Spokesman Andrew Hughan of the California Department of Fish & Wildlife said.

There has been some rain during the last month in Northern California, but now the state is moving into its dry season where the amount of rain is normally minimal, Western Weather Expert Ken Clark said.

"It won't have any effect on improving the drought status at all," he said. "But I doubt it gets much worse right now."

The amount of water coming out of the California foothills will be noticeably less on streams, potentially affecting both fishing and recreational rafting, Clark said.