Metalmania....It has to do with ocean conditions, avian predation, commercial harvest, and gill netters. Ocean conditions play a major role in chinook returns, the more available feed the more, bigger, and stronger the returns. Avain predation is a huge factor. It's estimated that almost a third of the outgoing smolt are lost to birds like cormerants, turns, gulls, and mergansers. Commercial harvest numbers are projected like this: 1.3 million smolt equals 900,000 chinook sub adults, at this stage of the life cycle there is little predation, so commercials see that only 35,000 need to return to the rivers, a specific buffer will be created maybe 10%, making the return 38,500. after thier quotas are met then the sport anglers will be allowed thier quota, based on an estimated return on the projected 38500. they figure in by catch on other types of vesseles (pollack)at say 3%. that leaves a fishable population of 1155 sport fish or around 1 to 2% of the total run, of those they may only be hatch fish, and then this year that number was split 50/50 with gill netters.(more commercial harvest). So now you get a quota of 577 fish. A million fish run is possible if we can curtail commercial harvest, fight for our rights as vote wielding tax paying, license buying..and pi**ed off sportsman. The numbers i threw out are just an example..thats why we will never see a million fish return...Blame it on Alaska trollers. They will never allow you a dream season without a mandate from voters and federal intervention.