In the Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma County, they come for the wine. And, as Sal Curreri of Truett-Hurst Winery knows all too well, they stay for the fish.
There are big ones in Dry Creek, which runs through the property, "Yeah, right in there, there is a big one getting ready to lay their eggs," Curreri said.
A chinook, just back from the sea. This year they're returning in record numbers, for the past decade, at least.
"In excess of 6,300 fish," said Dr. Greg Horton with the Sonoma County Water Agency, which has spent considerable time and money to restore the salmon runs. They know the number because they have video, and have counted the fish moving upstream.
The agency has focused mostly on coho and steelhead, but seeing the Chinook in such record numbers bodes well, "Just an indicator of how good conditions are," Horton said.
Unless you know what you know what you're looking for, they are very difficult to spot. But, if you put a small camera on the end of a stick, and lower it gently into the water in the direction of a fish, you'll see it.
This fish, they say, days away from laying eggs in the sand bottom, and continuing the lifecycle.
It is one experience to order some pinot, and enjoy salmon as a meal. In the Dry Creek Valley, they're ordering the pinot, and watching.