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The Kokanee Salmon are the most colorful and fascinating fish in Lake Tahoe. The Taylor Creek Visitors Center in South Lake Tahoe is the best place to go and view the fish while they are spawning in the Fall. The US Forest Service constructed viewing center where the public can watch the stream profile through a window that has been built into the ground with a tunnel walkway similar to being at an aquarium. The Kokanee start to spawn in early October and around 80,000 salmon will swim upstream to lay eggs. As the fish begin to spawn, they turn a bright red color that is surprising to see in the water. When the female lays her eggs in the creek gravel, she will then start to turn white and begin to decompose, ending the one-year life cycle. The males will then protect the eggs for a few more days before the end of life cycle begins for them. To catch with natural life process in action is exciting and educational.

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The first weekend in October the Taylor Creek Visitors Center, located 3 miles north of South Lake Tahoe, will be hosting the annual Fall Fish Festival. From 10am – 4pm on Saturday and Sunday visitors can stroll the 1/2 mile Rainbow Trail loop as Forest Service biologists will engage visitors in the wonders of Taylor Creek. The trail will take you through forests, meadows and marsh lands to the creek where the Kokanee salmon will be within a few feet of your own feet. Events for the weekend will include children’s activities such as treasure hunts, fish art and a Smokey the Bear visit, educational programs and the Kokanee Trail Run on Sunday that includes a 1/2 marathon, 5K and 10K.

I’m looking forward to this event. Hope to see you up in Tahoe for this natural wonder. For full details about all the activities for the day, click here.