Watch the Salmon Run. Lake Tahoe, California.

Even though Lake Tahoe is only three and a half hours away from my Northern California home, I hadn’t been there in over ten years. So, when Peter and I were offered a free cabin for a couple of days there was no way I was turning down this getaway. Free is good. Besides it was salmon spawning season and I had my heart set on watching the salmon run. I am a voyeur like that.

Taylor Creek has many beautiful sights, but one of the most interesting is seeing the Kokanee salmon run each fall.

Perfect timing for us. We parked at the head of a trail and walked the short distance to the main attraction. Taylor Creek trail

Along the way, I found the largest pine cone…EVER. And Peter found the smallest.

Truth be told, one of the biggest pine cones in the United States is the Sugar Pine which could be over 24 inches long and my find was just a mere 9 inches. But, it was still bigger than my head.
Annette White with a Pine ConeLargest Pine Cone in Lake Tahoe

After playing with pines cones, we passed by these gorgeous Aspen trees.
Aspen Trees in Lake Tahoe

Then we came upon this…thing. I couldn’t even begin to wonder what the heck it was. I guessed it was some sort of sun observation device. Nope.

It is a monitoring station used to predict the annual water supply created by melting snow. Okay.
Lake Tahoe monitoring station

We slowly gawked and walked past the 9,735 foot Mt. Tallac. Seeing the Salmon run was starting to be an afterthought to all of the other beautiful sights along the way.
Mt. Tallac in Lake Tahoe

And then we arrived.

In the fall the salmon begin to turn bright red and the male develop a hooked jaw. This signals the start of spawning season and they begin to travel back to Taylor Creek where they were born.
Salmon Run spawning in Lake Tahoe

The salmon work really hard to get back to their birth place.

Once the salmon arrive, the female builds a nest, the male fertilizes the eggs and both sexes die. Very Romeo & Juliet-esque. Several months later the babies are hatched.

“At Taylor Creek, the life of the Kokanee salmon begins and ends when they return to their birthplace to spawn and die”

We walked to the trail end where hundreds of salmon end up to spawn and you are able to witness this moving sea of red.
salmon run in lake tahoe

I am a big fan of any traveling that starts out with a check off my bucket list. I think I’m going to like Lake Tahoe.

Have you ever seen the salmon run? Have you ever been to Lake Tahoe in Northern California?

You Might Also Enjoy

Tips to Bike or Walk Across San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge
Walk on Fort Bragg’s Glass Beach in Northern California
Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride Over the Vineyards of Northern California
San Francisco Bucket List: 60 Best Things to Do in the Fun City of SF
California Dreaming: 9 Incredible Winter Stops in the Yosemite Valley
California: 25 Photos to Inspire Your Point Reyes Bucket List
Go Wild Mushroom Hunting in California’s Napa Valley
Have A Very White Christmas in Yosemite Valley
Spend An Afternoon at Hog Island Oyster Farm in Tomales Bay
Drive the 72 Miles Around Lake Tahoe
Find Peace at the Petrified Forest in Calistoga

2018-12-21T15:54:38+00:00January 9th, 2012|Categories: California, North America, TRAVEL|Tags: , , |


  1. John January 10, 2012 at 5:21 am - Reply

    I was able to see the salmon run at Goldstream Provincial Park in British Columbia, but it was completely different from what you described here. There were far less (alive) fish. Most of them were dead on the shore as the seagulls picked at them. Maybe this is due to the extreme shallowness of the creek where we visited. It was less than an inch deep and the salmon really struggled to make it upstream. Beautiful photos, by the way!

    • Annette White January 10, 2012 at 8:00 am - Reply

      I think if we would have been there a few weeks later many more of the salmon would have been dead. So, I’m happy we arrived when we did 🙂

  2. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures January 10, 2012 at 8:56 am - Reply

    Wow what an incredible place!!! I would have taken home a couple of pine cones.

    • Annette White January 10, 2012 at 9:25 am - Reply

      I should have! I could have made Christmas ornaments out of them 🙂

  3. Achieve Your 100 January 11, 2012 at 5:43 am - Reply

    Wow, the photos look stunning and I love those pine cones – I want one now, will have to add it to my bucket list!!

    • Annette White January 11, 2012 at 8:21 am - Reply

      Next time I’m going to have to take home a pine cone!

  4. Bucket List Journey » Travel & Bucket List Plans for the New Year January 11, 2012 at 11:05 am - Reply

    […] Join the Community ←Salmon Porn in Lake Tahoe. I Watched. […]

  5. […] seeing the Salmon run in Lake Tahoe, we headed to check out Northstar Ski Resort even though it was sans snow. It […]

  6. I Hart Travel January 15, 2012 at 7:09 pm - Reply

    I always thought that this event only happened in Alaska, lol.
    I really want to visit Lake Tahoe (do you have a preference for the Nev or Cali side?).

    • Annette White January 16, 2012 at 10:30 am - Reply

      Both sides have so many beautiful aspects. When you go, you have to drive the 72 miles around lake. It is STUNNING!

  7. Abhishek Behl (Wild Navigator) January 30, 2012 at 9:05 am - Reply

    Thanks for this post and really nice to see the outdoors. Those pine cone's are certainly one of the biggest that I have seen – keeping in mind that i come from the Himalayan belt in India where we do have cedar pine trees and the cones are half the size to the Aspen species. 🙂 Incredible views and bird species much be great? 

    • Annette White January 30, 2012 at 10:34 am - Reply

      I’m sure the birds are beautiful, but I was too preoccupied with the salmon to look. Next time 😉

  8. 72 Mile Drive Around Lake Tahoe | Bucket List Journey May 28, 2012 at 9:54 am - Reply

    […] risked hypothermia in my fingers to see the salmon run at Taylor Creek. And though all of my ten digits survived, it would have been worth losing one or […]

  9. Fish Pedicures in Spain. Animal Cruelty? | Bucket List Journey July 11, 2012 at 11:36 am - Reply

    […] I feel that it was animal cruelty? Let's just say that I felt much worse watching the Salmon spawn in Lake Tahoe. I wanted to pick up those battered fish and help them […]

  10. […] I feel that it was animal cruelty? Let’s just say that I felt much worse watching the Salmon spawn in Lake Tahoe. I wanted to pick up those battered fish and help them […]

  11. A Pigs Tail & Lobster Gnocchi at the Ritz Carlton | Bucket List Journey August 13, 2012 at 8:46 am - Reply

    […] FOOD + DRINK After seeing the Salmon run in Lake Tahoe, we headed to check out Northstar Ski Resort even though it was sans snow. It […]

  12. derek March 29, 2013 at 1:50 pm - Reply

    Seen the spawning in Alaska (between Fairbanks Anchorage) with gigantic salmon. Just have to keep an eye open for the local bears as these streams are like their local sushi bar and they are very protective. You can wade in the stream and have to kick the salmon away as they are side by side & totally cover the width of the stream. The males are vari-colured from bright green to red with enormous 'beaks'.

    • Annette White March 29, 2013 at 8:52 pm - Reply

      That would be a great experience! I am happy that I did not encounter any bears while I was in Tahoe.

  13. Kerry July 8, 2014 at 10:03 am - Reply

    Romeo and Juliet is one of my favourites, tragic though it is. The animal world is so incredibly fascinating.

Leave A Comment