Bear Activity Closes Popular Tahoe Salmon Viewing Destination

Flickr/Rose Davies

The yearly migration of Kokanee Salmon at Tahoe’s Taylor Creek has become a popular destination for visitors to see the bright-red fish swimming in beautiful droves. It’s also a popular place for the many Tahoe bears to grab a meal.

It’s probably not safe for humans to get near a bear feeding frenzy and that’s why officials have closed the area to human visitors.

“We’ve seen people trying to get way too close to the bears,” said Daniel Cressy from the U.S. Forest Service’s Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. “People trying to take selfie portraits with black bears — and these are wild animals. They are 300-, 400-, 500-pound animals. And it’s terribly unsafe to approach them.”

The area also poses concerns about crowds during the COVID-19 pandemic, along with the “risk of bear-human encounters.” That’s why the Forest Service has closed Taylor Creek from October 3 to November 2, which extends 400 feet on both sides of the creek, which connects Fallen Leaf Lake to Lake Tahoe’s south shore.

People viewing the Kokanee salmon from the Taylor Creek Overlook

The landlocked Kokanee salmon return to Taylor Creek each fall, typically in October, to spawn. These magnificent looking fish look straight out of a fall catalog, due to their bright red hue. The salmon were introduced to Lake Tahoe by biologists in 1944 and the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit has created a unique educational program to view the Kokanee Salmon in their natural habitat at Taylor Creek.

In the past, wildlife photographers have gone to the creek to see the bears feasting on the salmon, and the photos are fantastic. This year, it seems like we won’t see the salmon coming together in a beautiful display of the circle of life. Here are some beautiful photos/videos from years past:

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