Early in 2008, a Frenchman living in Spokane pointed his skis down the southwestern flank of Mount Hood, accelerated, tucked and then launched off a 250-foot-tall cliff. The affable and energetic Matthias Giraud fell for about 3 seconds, windmilling his arms to keep his body upright.

Each year in late summer/early fall, Chinook travel more than 800 miles back from the ocean to scoop out gravel nests in the small streams of the central Idaho wilderness and deposit their eggs. Idaho Fish and Game biologists are literally hovering over the streams and taking notes.