I don't think that your dream is a fantasy. Dr. Garza's group has identified some of the genetics underlying spawn timing in steelhead [Abadía-Cardoso A, Anderson EC, Pearse DE, Garza JC (2013) Large-scale parentage analysis reveals reproductive patterns and heritability of spawn timing in a hatchery population of steelhead Oncorhynchus mykiss. Molecular Ecology 22:4733-4746.]. And in the fall, I posted an article that described some of the allelic variation in size determination in Atlantic salmon (see http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151104133222.htm). It would be sweet to turn the clock back and see a return of those 80-100lb torpedoes that could conquer the Grand Canyon of the Elwha and spawn in the upper reaches, especially if I can watch them cruise by while I fish the Ranch section of the Elwha....
Just to see one of those incredible fish would be a life moment.
Any chance the equivalent "big salmon" genes from the extinct Columbia River June Hog Chinook may be lying dormant within the Upriver Bright population? If I remember correctly, the June Hogs rivaled the Elwha Chinook, with a typical fish in the 70 pound range. Unfortunately, it may be a moot point since unlike the Elwha, the Columbia will never flow free again. One can dream though.