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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Spawning Salmon at Causey Reservoir

Our twighlight stop at Porcupine Reservoir over the Labor Day weekend really got me pumped up about looking for salmon, so Friday night we went camping up Monte Cristo, then got up early and drove down to Causey for another dose of cherry kokes. 
We took the Causey Estates road across the dam to the trailhead at Causey's south bay.  We cooked blueberry pancackes for breakfast,  then started hiking the Skull Crack Trail to the inlet for the South Fork of the Ogden River.  The sign at the trailhead said it was 2.3 miles, which my GPS verified as being accurate.  There's a climb at the beginning, and decent at the end, but most of the trail is just the gentle up and down grades of trying to find the best route while staying reasonably at the same elevation. 
We finally reached the steep decent for the last 1/4 mile, and reached the stream.  Nothing.  We didn't see any fish in the clear water.  We walked further upstream and found a pool with several dozen spawning kokanee salmon
This first pool happened also to be the best place to take pictures of them.  The red kokanee salmon stood out in the calm still water, where in the quicker water they looked blurry and distorted.
Some of them were pretty decent sized- about 18-20 inches long is my guess.  It was fantastic just watching them.  The run happens every year during September.  

We walked upstream for a ways and saw more salmon in other places, some of them chasing other salmon off, some of them doing their mating dance, and others just resting before they pushed further upstream.  It's really quite amazing.  I think I could do this every year. 
After a quick picnic lunch, we headed back down the trail toward home and a family cookout.

Nearest City: Huntsville, UT
Location: N° W°
Time Needed: A half-day plus
Difficulty: Moderate
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  1. Hi there - I just found this blog post of yours after Googling salmon at Causey Resevoir. We'd love to take our canoes up there to see them, but don't know the best time to go. Any idea how we can find out? Thanks

    1. Gayle,

      Thanks for the comment on my blog. We were up there Labor Day weekend last year and there were plenty of spawning kokanee running up the stream. Taking a canoe would be an awesome way to get there. The Utah DWR has Causey Reservoir closed to taking any salmon with red color from August 15 to the last day of September. This says to me that they expect there to be red salmon anytime in that time period. Labor Day to Mid-September should be the peak run, so get on up there and paddle over to take a look! It's a pretty amazing experience.