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  • Joey Karrigan

Two Cubs on Their First Fishing Trip



It was early salmon season at Hallo Bay and momma was looking for some lunch. When we saw her, she was a few hundred yards off in the meadow eating grass and goose tongue. She soon turned her attention to the river, where she probably heard the tell-tale sound of a fin breaking the surface of the water. We decided to watch her and proceeded down to the river as well. We kept our distance and stayed about 10–15 yards away from the creeks edge, ensuring we did not interfere with her fishing expedition. We do this because the edge is their runway, literally. Bears usually use the dry bank to chase salmon before charging into the water for the final pounce. We want to give them enough space so we do not change their behavior. If you position yourself right on the creeks edge, then the bear would have to go around you. As a result, you have effectively altered the bears behavior and subsequently kept them from catching a fish. For a mom, this could mean no food for the cubs.


Since the salmon just started coming in the past day or two, the spring cubs haven’t experienced fishing or a fish. They are just following their mother. In this little clip, momma sees or hears a fin break the surface and she takes off after it. The cubs have no idea what is going on and get scared, so they run off into the meadow and end up about 100–150 yards away from mom. This was a little tense because they stayed away longer than expected and there were other bears around, including a couple big boars who would make a meal out of a small cub like that.


We all watched her and the cubs for about 10 minutes and eventually the cubs calmed down and joined momma back at the creek, still wondering what she is doing in the water.



Video/Story Credit: Lance Bassett (Emerald Air Service Naturalist Guide)

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