October 1, 2016
Filed Under South Tahoe Events
Nature’s art show is in full display as the Kokanee salmon swim up Taylor Creek for their annual dance of life. The deep red of these non-native fish against the backdrop of the golden aspen along the creek is as stunning as the strength and determination of the running salmon. Learn about the variety of fish species that live in Lake Tahoe and its streams including the federally threatened Lahontan cutthroat trout.
The annual Fall Fish Festival takes place October 1 and 2, 2016 from 10am to 4pm.
The festival is free to attend and is located at the USFS Visitor Center at Taylor Creek, 3 miles north of South Lake Tahoe on Hwy 89 next to Camp Richardson.
Hosted by the U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit in collaboration with the Tahoe Heritage Foundation, the festival is an opportunity to learn about the variety of fish species that live in Lake Tahoe and its streams including the federally threatened Lahontan cutthroat trout.
The festival is from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. each day. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s giant inflatable fish will serve as the gateway to fun activity stations for kids and festival mascots Lulu the Lahontan Cutthroat Trout and Sandy and Rocky Salmon will make appearances. There will also be a special appearance by Smokey Bear.
About the Kokanee (LTBMU website)
The Kokanee, landlocked cousins of the sea-going Sockeye Salmon, were introduced to Lake Tahoe in 1944 by biologists working on the lake’s north shore. These predecessors of today’s inhabitants quickly adapted to the alpine environment, joining brown trout, rainbow trout and Mackinaw among the most prominent game fish in Lake Tahoe. However, no other species in Lake Tahoe offers such a spectacular show during their mating season.
Each autumn, nature calls mature Kokanee to return to the streams from which they were hatched, select a mate, spawn and die. As that time approaches, adult males develop a humped back and a heavy, hooked jaw, equipping them for the inevitable battles over both mates and territory, and both sexes turn from their usual silver/blue color to a brilliant red. Then, en masse, the fish make one mad dash to their mating grounds, fighting their way up the shallow stream, displaying their colors to attract a mate, then battling to protect the small patch of gravel stream bed where they make their “redds” or nests. For more information about the Kokanee and the festival, visit the LTBMU website here.
In the Moment (top) and Kokanee Spawning (bottom) Oil Paintings by South Shore artist, Shelley Hocknell Zentner