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Kokanee Spawn Event At Strawberry Reservoir


The salmon are spawning in several areas around the Wasatch Back. Watch the spectacle this Saturday at Strawberry Reservoir if you’re interested in seeing the bright red fish up close.

The Utah Department of Wildlife Resources will sponsor the viewing event where participants can see the Kokanee salmon migrating to their spawning sites in the streams feeding into and out of Strawberry reservoir.  Kokanee salmon are distinguished from other fish by their color, the hump on their backs, the hooked jaw, and elongated teeth. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Event Development and Coordination Specialist Channing Howard said the fish spawn in northern Utah throughout the fall.

"Kokanee spawns anywhere from two to six years of age, give or take. And once they turn bright red, they get their hooked jaw, their humped backs. They swim up the river to spawn. And that concludes their lifecycle after they lay their eggs, deposit sperm, and then they're done. They've completed their entire life cycle."

She said people could see them in various waterways around the Wasatch Back, but the best place is at Strawberry reservoir. The salmon are easy to spot in the egg-taking area nearby.

"Kokanee salmon are pretty special here in Utah. They're the only landlocked salmon species here. So basically, they are like a species like what you might think of in the Pacific Northwest, that spends most of its life in the Pacific Ocean and then comes up the rivers to spawn. However, it's completely landlocked so it is in freshwater its entire lifecycle."

The Kokanee Salmon Viewing Day is Saturday from 9 to 3 PM at the Forest Service Visitor Center just off US Highway 40. Wildlife Biologists will be on hand to answer questions. Howard said the salmon also spawn at the Jordanelle reservoir, the Stateline reservoir, and the Smith and Morehouse reservoir feeder streams. Shesaid the Provo River above Jordanelle would also be a place to view them.

"Lots of places where you can see the fish spawning in different areas throughout the fall, and the Strawberry reservoir is one place you can come back to, with or without this event, to see the fish in the river. We want to remind everybody to make sure you leave the salmon alone as they're swimming up the stream. Don't let your dog bother them."

The event is free to attend, but they ask people to register through DWR's Eventbrite registration at wildlife.utah.gov.

If you catch a Kokanee between September 10 and November 30, it must be appropriately handled and put back so it can finish its spawning cycle.


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