Kokanee Salmon Spawning

November 9, 2015 at 6:50 am (California, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildlife) (, , )

Kokanee-Salmon,-Taylor-Creek,-S-Lake-Tahoe-(5)-copy

If you’ve never seen salmon during spawning season, Taylor Creek on the shore of Lake Tahoe is a wonderful spot to see them. The kokanee salmon were introduced decades ago and are actually landlocked sockeye salmon that spend their entire lives in freshwater. Born in Taylor Creek in South Lake Tahoe, California, they spend their lives in Lake Tahoe and two to four years later make their way back to their birth stream to spawn.

I watched one pair for about an hour until it began to rain. The female chased off other females, the male chased off hopeful males, and occasionally she would sweep the gravel bottom to prepare her “redd” or nest. The male took his place on her right side waiting in excited anticipation for the moment they had lived their whole lives for – the signs that she was ready to release her eggs and he could fertilize them. Their genetic duty done, they will then die. Unfortunately I never saw the actual moment of spawning because it started to rain. Nor did I see any of the black bears that come to feed on the salmon.  But I felt privileged to see one of nature’s amazing sagas.  This short video will let you share in the gentle drama, too.

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