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THE GREAT OUTDOORS — Utah's salmon populations turn bright red when they spawn, and people can see the colorful fish the next two weeks at several locations throughout the state.
Kokanee salmon is a landlocked species of sockeye salmon, originally introduced to Bear Lake in 1922, and currently reside in Causey Reservoir, Strawberry Reservoir and Flaming Gorge, according to Division of Wildlife Resources.
There are several reservoirs in Utah that contain kokanee salmon, and during late August through early September, they will turn from their silver appearance to a bright red as they swim upstream to spawn. After their eggs are laid in the riverbed, the salmon will die.
A free viewing of this event will be held at the U.S. Forest Service Visitor Center at Strawberry Reservoir on Sept. 17. The event will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visitors will be able to walk the river to see the fish there, and can also visit the fish trap and egg-collecting facility. There will be DWR biologists available to answer questions, and will even let you touch the fish.
DWR officials are holding another event to view the salmon at Sheep Creek on Saturday, Sept. 10 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sheep Creek is located about 6 miles south of Manila. The viewing site is till to be be determined, but will either be at the Scenic Byway turnout where Sheep Creek crosses under Route 44 or across the road where the geological loop starts. DWR said people should bring binoculars because they may also be able to see bighorn sheep at the event.
As you travel toward the visitor center along Highway 40 from Heber City, the 20-mile drive can be rewarding with a variety of fall colors.
Please be mindful of the kokanee salmon as they are protected during this time period. While they are spawning, It is unlawful to catch them. While it is still legal to hike to places like Causey Reservoir and witness this event, you may find the access at the Strawberry Reservoir visitor center more rewarding, with close-up access to the fish.
Access to the inlet at Causey Reservoir can be gained by either hiking, canoe, kayak or on a standup paddleboard. The hiking route is about 2.5 miles with an elevation gain of 350 feet. Most kids can easily make the hike and dogs are welcome. The trail is a skinny single track which can get crowded this time of year. Horseback riders are also allowed on the trail so please use common courtesy on the trail and while at the inlet.