A Race to Rescue the Salmon

Farmers, Fishermen and others in the Northwest will have to change their ways under a federal plan being designed to save the region's cherished fish

For Leslie Clark, 63, salmon fishing was a birthright -- a livelihood that has sustained four generations of his family. As a boy he learned from his father and grandfather the art of casting vast gill nets on the teeming waters of the Columbia River. After years of practice, he says, "you understand the fish and his ways. You know what he's going to do before you see him."

In Clark's youth, glistening 27-kg (60-lb.) silver Chinooks and red-fleshed sockeyes would leap into the nets. The commercial salmon season was 137 days long, and a day's catch would often exceed a...