Hundreds watch historic fish release at Lake Tahoe
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The most southern tip of Lake Tahoe was the place to be this weekend, or the place to avoid if you were just traveling through the area.
Hundreds upon hundreds of people filled every conceivable parking spot from the “Y” to nearly Emerald Bay for a massive Oktoberfest celebration and also a historic fish plant that coincided with the annual fish festival.
Cars were bumper-to-bumper by 11 a.m. Saturday morning near Camp Richardson Historic Resort & Marina looking, or hoping, for a place to park.
They sat, stopped, hoping to move, while bikers must have felt privileged cruising by on the path just a few yards from Emerald Bay Road.
But they discovered the same thing after arriving at the U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit’s Fall Fish Festival at Taylor Creek Visitor Center, if you’re not to wherever you’re going by 9 a.m. or earlier at Lake Tahoe, you’re late.
Bike racks were full by then. Trees, posts and a nearby picnic table were being put to use to secure bikes.
While the 25th annual Bavarian-style celebration corralled most of the guests, the fish festival drew many for the annual Kokanee salmon migration and fish plant.
The two-day event was packed by noon Saturday when hundreds made a short, 15-minute, hike on a dirt-then-sand path from the visitor center, alongside Lake Tahoe, to the picnic area at Kiva Beach.
People crowded around the Lahontan National Fish Hatchery Complex truck from Gardnerville, Nev., that was scheduled to release some of the 5,000 scheduled Lahontan cutthroat trout back into their native waters for the first time through a 30-foot long tube that led from the truck to the lake. Some people walked into the lake to get the best angles and close-up photographs of the 12- to 14-inch long trout that were once predators in the lake.
The event was part of an educational outreach on behalf of the hatchery, as well as LTBMU, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Nevada Department of Wildlife, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California.