Brown bear fishing

Brown bear chasing salmon, Katmai National Park, Alaska.

A female brown bear (grizzly bear, Ursus arctos) chases Sockeye Salmon up Brooks River. Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska. To view a larger version of the image, please click on the photo above.

Hey Folks,

This is a sow grizzly bear, or brown bear as they’re often (and correctly) called. She had 4 cubs, and worked hard (I mean, REALLY hard) to feed them all. Whenever I saw her fishing, she was 100%.

Most other adult bears rarely race around chasing salmon; they tend to walk up and down the river, either in the water or along the banks, and look for an easier dinner. Conserving energy is the name of their game.

This sow, with 4 extra hungry mouths to feed, was constantly running and racing through the water, chasing fish every which way. And if she saw another, smaller bear catch a fish nearby, she’d race after that bear, too, trying to force it to drop it’s catch. Rarely did that method work for her, but she never quit trying.

On the other hand, she was an excellent fisherbear, and caught what appeared to be plenty of fish. She’d walk in to the water,, nose sniffing 100 miles per hour, and search for salmon. Anything with 10 yards of her was fair game, and off she’d race, splashing and huffing through the water after the fish. Lots of times, she’d then stand upright and try to get a better look around for where the salmon were lurking beneath the surface, before dropping to all fours and racing off again.

Once she caught a fish, she’d start eating, and it would be only seconds before one of the cubs arrived, usually with 3 siblings in tow, to grab their share. Sometimes the youngster would simply snatch the salmon from her, and she’d be left with nothing. Nothing to do, but turn back in to the water, and find another fish. In the photo above, some unlucky ¬†salmon is about to feel the power of a full grown adult brown bear. Ouch!

It was great to watch and photograph her. A devout mother indeed, I hope her and her cubs make it through the winter. If any bear deserves it, she does.



7 thoughts on “Brown bear fishing

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Brown bear fishing for salmon, Katmai National Park, Alaska. | Skolai Images Stock Photo Blog --

  2. Pat Ulrich

    Really awesome image! Great story too — you can feel the intensity in her expression and you really get a sense of her power with all of the water splashing around.

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