Kokanee Salmon Run in Utah

The Kokanee Salmon are running in the rivers. We love going to see them in the Fall every year. It is truly amazing. Here are some locations and events happening if you’re interested in seeing the bright red salmon. The Kokanee Salmon Run in Utah is a quick event, and only lasts a few weeks, so don’t miss it. You can usually see the salmon from mid to late September, and sometimes a little bit into the first week of October.

Also, please don’t touch or catch the fish. This is disruptive to the salmon and their life cycle. Remember to always leave no trace when out adventuring, which means to leave nature alone as if you weren’t there. So look and enjoy, but don’t bother the fish.

We love watching these fish swimming upstream.

Strawberry Reservoir

You can see the salmon in the Strawberry River right next to the Visitor Center just off the US-40. The fish can be seen at Strawberry Reservoir through late September. There are signs that point you toward the trap and egg harvesting facility where you can see lots of bright red salmon, too.

There is a free viewing event at Strawberry Reservoir on Saturday, September 16, 2023, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the U.S. Forest Service visitor center at Strawberry Reservoir. They are asking you to register in advance. Here is the link to register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/kokanee-salmon-viewing-event-strawberry-reservoir-tickets-690217437937?aff=NewsRelease

These signs point you to two spots to see the salmon at Strawberry.
We liked watching the salmon jump while in these holding tanks.

Jordanelle Reservoir

The population is still growing at Jordanelle, but you can see them above the Rock Cliff Recreation Area at Jordanelle Reservoir. The red salmon will be making their way up the Provo River, and there are lots of trails to the river for viewing the salmon. Look in the river near the nature center. Peak time is the middle of the month of September.

Sheep Creek

Sheep Creek is a tributary to Flaming Gorge Reservoir. The best spot to see the salmon here is from the Highway 44 bridge over Sheep Creek. Watch for signs along the highway and no matter which direction you are coming from, you’ll see the signs and know where to go. Sheep Creek is also home to the largest Kokanee population!

Electric Lake

Upper Huntington Creek and Boulger Creek are two major tributaries to Electric Lake where kokanee salmon may spawn each year.  Electric Lake is located 54 miles west of Price and 22 miles east of Fairview, along Highway 264 in the Manti-La Sal National Forest. Both creeks are highly accessible at the pulloff on the north end of the lake that runs to the boat ramp, and there are lots of pullouts by the road where you can reach the creek. The best viewing at Electric Lake is usually the first few weeks of October.

Porcupine Reservoir

This is where we first saw the Kokanee Salmon when we were spending the weekend up in Logan. Drive to the east side of the Porcupine reservoir and park in the parking lot right before the church camp sign (the gate is usually closed). Then walk down to the Little Bear River (it’s not very far, but it’s a scramble down) and you will spot the salmon. You can see the river from the road. Best viewing is the end of September.

Causey Reservoir

Causey Reservoir is a popular spot to see the salmon, but they are a little bit trickier to get to here. You must hike or paddle to see kokanee salmon at this spot. The left-hand fork of Ogden River is only accessible via stand-up paddle board, kayak or canoe. The right-hand fork can be accessed by land and requires about a 2.5-mile hike in from the Skullcrack Canyon parking area. Peak spawning time is the middle of September.

Fish Lake

Fish Lake is a another great spot to see the Salmon Run in Utah. The information that we found about seeing them at Fish lake is that the best spot is at Twin Creeks. There is a new boardwalk which provides a great view of the spawning fish and the water is crystal clear. Spawning usually runs from mid-September to early October.

There will be a viewing event in 2023 on September 30 from 8 am to noon. The viewing event will be held at the boardwalk near the Fish Lake Lodge, and participants will be able to see the fish swimming up Twin Creeks, a tributary to Fish Lake. The event is free, but you are asked to register beforehand. Here is the link to register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/kokanee-salmon-viewing-event-fish-lake-registration-699653762237?aff=NewsRelease

Stateline Reservoir

The Stateliness Reservoir is on the north slope of the Uinta Mountains. It is about a half-mile from the Utah-Wyoming state line and offers great kokanee salmon viewing opportunities. The fish are typically small, but very abundant at this location. Fish run up the east fork of Smith’s Fork, which feeds into the north end of the reservoir. Peak spawning time is the middle of September.

This image is at Porcupine Reservoir, too.

For other locations and information on where to see the Kokanee Salmon Run in Utah, check out this post by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

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