Did you know we have a salmon run in Utah? Kokanee Salmon can be found in a handful of places in the state. Every fall salmon turn bright red and swim upstream to the place of their birth to lay new salmon eggs and then die. Then the life cycle continues when the eggs hatch four to six months later.
Most salmon spend the bulk of their lives in the ocean, but Kokanee Salmon (closely related to Sockeye Salmon) spend the bulk of their lives in freshwater lakes. Most salmon live for 2-7 years. As long as they survive, they return to the river of their birth to lay their eggs.
Causey Reservoir is a great option for seeing the salmon run here in Utah. There are two options, by water or land.
You can kayak of paddleboard over to the eastern edge of the reservoir where the right and left forks of the Ogden River flow into Causey Reservoir.
Kayak to Salmon Run
Hike to Salmon Run
You can also hike or bike the beautiful Skull Crack Trail that begins on the south end of Causey and makes it’s way around to the eastern side. It’s 4.7 moderate miles and such a beautiful trail.
Whether you paddle, hike, or bike, once you get to the river, you’ll want to head upstream. You’ll want to look both directions though, because it’s so beautiful, especially with the leaves starting to change!
As you are walking upstream, be sure to look in the water! You will see the bright red salmon making their way up the river.
Head up through the trees and you can get a better view of the fish.
Soon you come to a great viewing spot!
Here is more detail of the salmon coloring.
Here is a video:
This is a limited time attraction. You need to go at the very end of August through the very beginning of October to see the salmon. They are specifically protected from September 10 – November 30.
Other spots to see salmon in Utah are the upstream rivers of Jordanelle Reservoir, Porcupine Reservoir, and Strawberry Reservoir.
Stats for Skull Creek Trailhead:
Distance – 4.7 miles roundtrip
Approximate hiking time – 2-4 hours
Elevation gain – 830 feet
Difficulty – Moderate
Trail – well maintained trail of dirt and rocks
Bathrooms – At trailhead
Seasons to hike – End of August – early November (peaks in September and October)
Permits needed – None
Pets allowed – Yes