Each fall, trees are not the only part of Northern Utah that change colors by turning red: So do Kokanee Salmon.
Every year at this time, thousands of Kokanee Salmon surge upstream to the tributaries they once hatched, where they swim, spawn and die.
Causey Reservoir, which is just east of Pineview and Huntsville, has a tremendous population of salmon planted by the Fish and Wildlife for anglers to try their luck. As the fish begin their run upstream, it is a must-see for any adventurer in Northern Utah.
The run typically starts in late August and early September, continuing till mid-November, and typically peaks in mid to late September.
Kokanee Salmon are not just unique to other fish species, in which they die after giving birth, but also to other salmon: They hatch in freshwater streams
Instead of swimming to the oceans, they swim to freshwater lakes, such as Causey, to feed and grow. Kokanee generally mature after four years and undergo a rapid change before reproduction.
The fish begin to put all their energy into producing eggs and sperm, causing them to change shape and color from silver to bright red. Males tend to have the most transformation as they develop humps and snouts.
Causey Reservoir offers three ways to enjoy the salmon run — paddling, hiking or driving.
Since Causey is a non-motorized boat lake, people have to paddle via canoe, kayak or stand-up paddle boarding. For those who paddle, the one mile to the Left Fork is the biggest payoff.
The fork cannot be reached by foot and has the largest concentration of salmon. Because there are no boats allowed on the water, the water is always calm and a perfect place to enjoy a paddle.
For those who love to hike, the Skull Crack Trail offers a moderate hike to the Right Fork of the upper Ogden River. The 2.5-mile trail offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, wildlife and the reservoir. The trail is heavily used during this time of year and is a perfect hike to take the family.
The Right Fork has many small waterfalls, and if individuals are lucky, they can watch the salmon jump up to the next pool.
Opportunities such as finding a bald eagle or other wildlife waiting to feed on the brightly colored fish are also abundant.
A large number of Kokanee gather at the Right Fork too. In some pools, hundreds of red fish can be found fighting upstream, using each other for help.
For people who do not wish to hike or paddle, they can easily drive up to the Wheat Grass Creek and walk down. Not many salmon are in the area, but it is a quick and easy way to see them.
People are reminded to not disturb the fish as they are laying eggs in the stream. The fish do not taste good at this time, they have burned off all their fat and are ready to die.