Fall colors

A kokanee salmon tries to make its way out of Fish Lake Sunday afternoon. The species has turned bright red as it moves into its annual spawning season.

People are flocking to Fish Lake to see the colors of fall, but they’re not looking at the Aspen trees.

Instead fall color seekers are staring face down in Twin Creeks watching as kokanee salmon make their way up the stream to spawn and complete their life cycle.

“Twin Creeks is the best tributary at the lake to visit,” said Phil Tuttle, regional conservation outreach manager for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. “Good parking is available in a paved parking lot just north of Twin Creeks.”

The best time to see the salmon is now through October, according to Tuttle.

Salmon change from a silvery shade to bright red in the fall as they begin their migration. Hundreds of the fish can be seen along Fish Lake’s west side.

Fish Lake isn’t the only place to see the salmon in the state, but it is the closest to south central Utah. Other salmon runs are also located at Strawberry Reservoir, Sheep Creek off of Flaming Gorge Reservoir, Electric Lake and Causey Reservoir.

Utah’s kokanee salmon populations are a completely freshwater species that follows a lifecycle similar to other salmon with one exception — instead of migrating from the Pacific Ocean to freshwater streams, kokanee reach freshwater streams by migrating to the streams from freshwater lakes and reservoirs.

While watching the salmon is enjoyable, the DWR has asked that people don’t do things that would disrupt the spawning run, such as wading in Twin Creeks or harassing the fish. Wading in the stream can destroy the egg nests and cover the eggs with silt.

Anglers are not allowed to possess kokanee salmon during the spawning season, which runs in Utah from Sept. 10 through Nov. 30.

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