Lake Tahoe Kokanee Salmon Festival 2012
by: Elizabeth Sedway, TahoeKidsGuide.com
The annual Kokanee Salmon Festival will take place October 6th and 7th, 2012 at the Taylor Creek Visitors Center, from 10a to 4p. each day.
This free family event encourages participation by children and their parents in a wide variety of educational and entertaining events. Participants can learn about the natural wonders of Taylor Creek and take part in many fun activities, including a delicious salmon barbecue, Kokanee trail runs, children’s activities, educational and streamside programs, and much more!
Sunday, October 7th at 2pm. in the Lake of the Sky Amphitheater adjacent to Taylor Creek Vistors' Center (see detailed map) a free program offered by the Wild Things, Inc. which features live animals that may include a black bear, bald eagle, barn owl, turkey vulture, a beaver, and snakes. Because of the live animals on stage, attendees are asked to leave their dogs and other pets at home.
In addition to a chance to see Smokey Bear, can explore a giant 40 foot inflatable fish. "Sammy Salmon", the official mascot of the festival, will make appearances each day.
Throughout the weekend festival, Forest Service Biologists share information with visitors about the natural wonders of Taylor Creek. The accessible Rainbow Trail meanders through forests, meadows and marsh lands to the creek where the Kokanee Salmon spawn within a few feet of your own feet. A close-up view of this natural event is available in the underground Stream Profile Chamber located along the Rainbow Trail. Keep an eye out for Black Bears; they feed on the salmon.
Lisa Herron, Public Affairs Specialist with the U.S. Forest Service cautions,
"The Kokanee Salmon Festival and Oktoberfest at Historic Camp Richardson Resort, occur the same weekend, so the parking lot at the Visitor Center fills quickly. Visitors are encouraged to ride a bike or walk along the bike path between Camp Richardson and the Visitor Center, or take public transportation from South Lake Tahoe. BlueGo and the Nifty Fifty trolley will provide special service for these events. Contact them at (530) 541-7149."
Ever wonder how the Kokanee Salmon got there name? The American Indians living along the Fraser River in Canada gave the Kokanee its name. Kokanee means “red fish.” They are non-anadromous salmon meaning that they live their entire lives in fresh water. Kokanee are much smaller than ocean going salmon due to limited sources of food in fresh water lakes. The average size of an adult is 14 inches.
Did you know the Kokanee Salmon are not indiginous to Lake Tahoe? Kokanee were “accidentally” introduced into Lake Tahoe in 1944 from holding ponds that overflowed at the old Tahoe City Fish Hatchery. Three years after their accidental introduction the salmon returned to Tahoe City to spawn. Knowing that the Kokanee would survive in Lake Tahoe, it was decided that the hatchery would do a yearly planting of fingerlings in the tributary streams. These plantings began in 1949. Today, California Department of Fish and Game continues to plant fingerlings in Taylor Creek to maintain a healthy population. Kokanee Salmon are a land-locked form of the Sockeye Salmon that are native to the marine and fresh waters of the Pacific Northwest.