October 31, 2008
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (AP) ” Thousands of kokanee salmon are swimming up Taylor Creek near South Tahoe as part of their annual spawning ritual ” and a group of hungry bears is there to meet them.
As many as 50,000 of the landlocked cousins of the seagoing sockeye salmon may make the journey upstream this year.
The kokanee were introduced to Lake Tahoe in 1944 by biologists, said Forest Service spokesman Rex Norman.
“Each autumn, nature calls mature kokanee to return to the streams from which they were hatched, select a mate and die,” Norman said. “As that time approaches, adult males develop a humped back and a heavy, hooked jaw, equipping them for the inevitable battles over both mates and territory, and both sexes turn from their usual silver-blue color to a brilliant red.”