Free from the threat of last year’s government shutdown, the Fall Fish Festival will make its reappearance in the South Shore this weekend.
Once again, the festival will focus on Lake Tahoe’s various fish species, including the federally threatened Lahontan cutthroat trout, the Kokanee salmon and the Speckled dace.
Several children’s activities will be featured at the two-day event, as well as event t-shirt sales, stream side information and a variety of food vendors and educational booths.
The festival will also feature the return of the Kokanee Trail Runs on Sunday, which is sponsored by the Tahoe Mountain Milers.
The popular festival, which is held at the Taylor Creek Visitor Center, was canceled last year when nearly all of the 150 people working for the U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit were furloughed following a lapse in federal funding.
However, it’s back on this year and scheduled to run today and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Forest Services advises the public to be bear aware while attending the festival, since “some black bears in the area have learned to feed on the spawning salmon, and visitor center staff routinely encounter unsafe situations as guests get too close to the bears,” according to a news release.
The agency also reminds people to not approach bears, which are wild animals and may attack if threatened. The Forest Service asks visitors stay on paved trails, keep a safe distance and leave an escape route for a bear if encountered.
As for other wildlife, visitors may also have the opportunity to witness hundreds of salmon spawning in the gravel stream bed at Taylor Creek. However, there were no salmon visible as of Wednesday afternoon.
When the salmon do show up, a Kokanee can lay anywhere from 200 to 1,800 eggs after a nest is built. The male fertilizes the eggs, and then both male and female die after spawning.
Some tourists have described watching the process from the shores of Taylor Creek as a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Due to the large number of people expected at the Fall Fish Festival and simultaneously occurring Oktoberfest at Camp Richardson, visitors can expect parking to fill up quickly at the visitor center.
For this reason, the Forest Service encourages attendees to bike, walk or take public transportation to the event.
For more information on the Fall Fish Festival, go to www.fs.usda.gov/goto/ltbmu/FallFishFest or call the visitor center at (530) 543-2674.
Or, for more information on the Kokanee Trail Runs, visit www.tahoemtnmilers.org.