About the Kokanee Salmon Festival at Taylor Creek Visitor Center
The Kokanee Salmon Festival is an annual event usually held during the first weekend in October. The 2012 Festival is Saturday and Sunday, October 6 and 7. Both days of this free family event at Lake Tahoe's Taylor Creek Visitor Center 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 and watch the salmon migration. Here are some of the activities that will be going on...
- Rainbow Trail half-mile loop to view spawning Kokanee salmon in Taylor Creek.
- Stream Profile Chamber on the Rainbow Trail - underwater view of salmon in Taylor Creek.
- "Wild Things" at Lake of the Sky Amphitheater Wild Things - 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 6.
- "The Drama of the Kokanee Salmon – An Interactive Play" - 2 p.m. on Sunday, October 7.
- Fish painting and other activities specifically for children.
- Food, drink, ice cream, and informational booths from various organizations and agencies.
- Kokanee Trail Runs - Tadpole Trot for little kids plus 5K and 10K runs and a half marathon - starts at 9:15 a.m. on Sunday, October 7.
- Salmon Feed fundraiser for Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care.
Kokanee Trail Runs - The Tahoe Mountain Milers and Sagebrush Stompers running clubs are presenting the Kokanee Trail Runs on Sunday, October 7. A half marathon will start at 9 a.m. and the half mile Tadpole Trot for kids will start at 9:15 a.m. Trail runs of 5k and 10k kick off at 10 a.m. Runs will start at the Taylor Creek Snowpark parking lot. Registration on race day will begin at 8 a.m. Registration and early packet pickup will be available at the nearby Camp Richardson Resort on Saturday, October 6, from 12 noon to 4 p.m.
Getting to the Kokanee Salmon Festival
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. There is a big parking lot, but be prepared to jockey for a spot on busy weekends. For more information, call the Taylor Creek Visitor Center at (530) 543-2674.
About Kokanee Salmon
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 spawn and complete their life cycle.
Bears and Kokanee Salmon in Taylor Creek
Bears at Lake Tahoe are attracted to the Kokanee salmon spawning in Taylor Creek. Visitors may see bears in the vicinity and are urged to follow these rules to keep things safe for both people and wildlife...
- Do not approach bears.
- Keep a safe distance from bears.
- Do not feed bears.
- Secure food and garbage.
- While visiting Taylor Creek, stay on the trail and do not run if you see a bear.
Black bears are native to the Lake Tahoe Basin. Learn more about these creatures and co-existing safely while on their home turf with "Guidelines for Living In and Visiting Bear Habitat" from the U.S. Forest Service, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.
Source: U.S. Forest Service, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.