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See Kokanee Salmon at Strawberry Reservoir

Kokanee Salmon spawning
Kokanee Salmon spawning

Sept. 19 is Kokanee Salmon Viewing Day

Heber City - You can see hundreds of bright red salmon-and possibly other wildlife, too-at the annual Kokanee Salmon Viewing Day.

The event will be held Sept. 19 at the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) visitor center at Strawberry Reservoir The visitor center is along U.S. Highway 40, about 20 miles southeast of Heber City.

The event is free. It runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Division of Wildlife Resources, the USFS and Friends of Strawberry Valley host the viewing event every September amid the valley's beauty and its changing fall colors.

Seeing the salmon

When you attend the event on Sept. 19, you'll see some salmon in the Strawberry River next to the visitor center. But if you walk to the fish trap and egg-taking facility behind the visitor center, you’ll see hundreds of the bright red fish.

DWR biologists will be available at the facility to show you the salmon and talk with you about the peculiar life cycle of the fish.

Scott Root, regional conservation outreach manager for the DWR, says biologists are hoping to collect more than 2 million kokanee eggs this year. "The eggs will come from kokanee handled at the egg-taking facility at Strawberry and from kokanee at Sheep Creek, a tributary to Flaming Gorge," he says.

After collecting the eggs, biologists will take them to DWR hatcheries. There, the eggs will be hatched, and the fry that hatch from the eggs will be raised. "Survival success is much better in the hatcheries than it is in the wild," Root says. "Next spring, the fish will be about three inches long. We'll stock them into kokanee salmon waters across Utah."

If you can't attend the Sept. 19 event, Root says salmon should be visible in the Strawberry River, and other tributaries to Strawberry, from now until the first part of October.

For more information about the event, call the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest at 435-654-0470 or Root at 801-491-5656.