"The last time salmon were in the river was about 1947, I think. So I was a little girl."
Coke Hallowell has been working with the San Joaquin River Parkway Conservancy and Trust to protect and preserve the state's second largest river.
She believes this historic reintroduction of salmon means a healthy future for the once mighty San Joaquin.
"It will be a healthy and thriving river that we can really tout to the public and get support to protect it."
To restock the upper San Joaquin, the Department of Fish and Game started by capturing salmon down river, in a section across the road from the old Hills Ferry Raceway, near Newman.
The fish are caught near a barrier, then tagged for monitoring, and into a tank they go.
Gerald Hatler, Dept. of Fish & Wildlife: "We've got an array of receivers that are tracking fish that have acoustic tags implanted in them. It'll tell us something about how quickly the salmon move up river."
Speaking of up river, now it's time to move these "pioneers."
So, it's off to Camp Pashayan, just under the bridge near Herndon and 99.
"The best spawning habitat for salmon are in this reach below Friant Dam."
And now, history.
Salmon are now swimming the San Joaquin for the first time in 62 years.
Monty Schmitt, Natural Resources Defense Council: "Releasing salmon into the river is part of healing the river."
The river wasn't always this healthy.
It was just over 6 years ago, that a settlement was reached between water users and the federal government, to get more water released into the San Joaquin.
Conservationists say a steady flow from the dam, along with this milestone, could mean a return to the salmon runs of old.
Coke Hallowell is hopeful. "We saw the salmon go into the water, and they're going to be there forever, I hope."
Officials will now monitor the fish to see how they adapt to the river, but they need your help.
The Department of Fish and Game says there is no salmon fishing along the San Joaquin River.
The goal now is to fully restore the salmon population.
That may not happen for a couple of years. So until then, no fishing!