The Annual Fall Fish Festival is a celebration of the fish that inhabit our beautiful Lake Tahoe. Fish such as the Lahontan cutthroat Trout and the Brown Trout. But, the star of the event is the Kokanee Salmon.
Kokanee Salmon Migration
Unlike their ocean raised brothers, the Sockeye Salmon, our Kokanees have been landlocked in fresh water their whole lives. Every fall, in great numbers, they head to Taylor Creek to spawn. The Kokanee salmon migration happens for the purpose of spawning every three to four years. The end of their lifespan occurs shortly thereafter. While in Lake Tahoe they grow to about 8-12 inches but can get as large as 20 inches and average around 2 pounds. A 5-pound Kokanee is considered a trophy fish. The live on zooplankton which are tiny aquatic animals but they’ll also eat inspects and small plants.
What is very cool about Kokanee Salmon we can watch them swimming in great numbers in Taylor Creek. It is a sight to behold! You may even get to see a bear grab a fish snack or two. Their appearance changes when they are spawning too. Kokanees start out silver with a greenish blue back but when they are getting ready to spawn they change. The females develop a lighter red color on their back and continue to look like a trout. Males develop a hooked lower jaw (kype), develop irregular teeth and their backs develop a hump and turn a bright leathery red while their head is green.
If you’d like to see this natural phenomenon in person, plan to visit the Fall Fish Fest at Taylor Creek Visitor Center.
Fall Fish Fest 2019
The Fall Fish Fest happens Saturday & Sunday, October 5th & 6th from 10am to 4pm at the Taylor Creek Visitor Center in South Lake Tahoe. This is a great event to bring the kids as there are lots of activities to keep them entertained and happy. They’ll even get to walk into a giant inflatable fish! You can eat from any of the food options available or bring your own picnic lunch.
For those who want to “run” with the salmon, there are runs on Sunday, October 6th. Sign up for a half marathon, a 5k, 10k or tadpole Trot. Registration starts at 6 am on Sunday but you can learn more and pre-register at Tahoe Mountain Milers website.