As natural populations decline, captive breeding and rearing programs have become essential components of conservation efforts. However, captive rearing can cause unintended phenotypic and/or genetic changes that adversely impact on population restoration efforts. Here, we test whether the exposure of captive-reared Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) to natural river environments (i.e., “wild exposure”) during early life can serve as a mitigation technique to improve the survivorship of descendents in the wild. Using genetic pedigree reconstruction, we observed a two-fold increase in the survivorship of offspring of wild-exposed parents compared to the offspring of captive parents. Our results suggest that harnessing the influence of transgenerational effects in captive-rearing programs can improve the outcomes of endangered species restoration efforts.