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Standley White

Lake Tahoe's Kokanee Salmon Festival

By October 3, 2008

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Taylor Creek Visitor Center, Lake Tahoe
Taylor Creek Visitor Center, Lake Tahoe.
Photo © Stan White
Lake Tahoe's Taylor Creek Visitor Center is the site of the annual Kokanee Salmon Festival. Both days of this family event, October 4 and 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., are full of activities to help you learn about the Lake Tahoe environment and have fun doing it. Sammy Salmon, the festival mascot, will be there to greet the kids. You'll be able to learn about Taylor Creek from naturalists, visit informational booths, walk along the creek to observe the salmon, and visit the stream profile chamber to see the underwater environment of Taylor Creek.

Kokanee salmon were introduced to Lake Tahoe in 1944. Like Sockeye salmon, their ocean-going relatives, these fish return to their stream of origin to mate, spawn, and die. In the case of Lake Tahoe's landlocked Kokanee, that stream is Taylor Creek. In preparation for their spawning run, Kokanee salmon turn bright red. I've seen this display and it's quite amazing to see the creek crowded with the colorful fish, oblivious to the human observers as they vigorously compete to successfully complete their life cycle.

The Taylor Creek Visitor Center is three miles north of the town of South Lake Tahoe on Hwy. 89 (locally known as Emerald Bay Road). It is a right turn (toward the lake), just past the Tallac Historic Site turnoff. The Taylor Creek Visitor Center information phone is (530) 543-2674.

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