A grizzly bear goes fly fishing

May 05, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Here's a newly processed sequence of a grizzly bear's amazing fishing technique in the Yukon. The images are from 2 separate runs by the same bear, in the same place, just a day apart - I used images from the two days as together they best illustrated just how smart (and fast, and aggressive) a grizzly bear (brown bear) can be. She was swatting snow into the salmon spawning stream to scare the fish, then would charge down the river bank to head them off and jump out on top of them as they passed. 

 

Grizzly bear fishing technique series - monochrome 01 of 05Grizzly bear fishing technique series - monochrome 01 of 05This monochrome image is part of a sequence of 5 shots that illustrate just how smart (and fast) grizzly bears (brown bears) are when they hunt. In this, the first image of the sequence, the female grizzly is swatting snow from the river bank into the stream to scare spawning chum salmon. She repeatedly used this fishing technique over several days while I was photographing her in the northern Yukon, at Bear Cave Mountain, in October 2018.

#1 - the set up


While I didn't actually put the text on social media posts, I certainly felt like adding something like sounded like a clickbait ad: "You won't believe what this bear did in image #4!!" 

Starting in autumn 2022, I have grizzly bear photo safaris running to Bear Cave Mountain, where this sequence was shot. For anyone interested in an extended double shot of grizzly bears, I have back-to-back weeks booked for 2023 and 2026 - both will give 15-days of wilderness bear photography. I also have summer grizzly photo safaris to the Taku Wilderness starting in 2022, in the far reaches of northwestern British Columbia. Drop me a note if you are interested! Check out all my scheduled trips at this link.

The images in this sequence are for sale individually (click the image or the links below the image) or if you are interested, send me a message and I can put together the whole series in 10x15" prints in my Nova Scotia studio and send them rolled in a tube, ready for framing by your local framer. 

 

Grizzly bear fishing technique series - monochrome 02 of 05Grizzly bear fishing technique series - monochrome 02 of 05In this second image of the sequence, the grizzly has successfully spooked the spawning chum salmon and takes off downstream as fast as she can in order to 'head them off at the pass.' She had a favorite promenade that stuck out into the river, where she could jump down on top of salmon passing beneath. #2 - the charge

 

Grizzly bear fishing technique series - monochrome 03 of 05Grizzly bear fishing technique series - monochrome 03 of 05The third image in the series shows the bear in mid-charge when she realizes that she does not need to go all the way to her favorite spot because a salmon she is interested in has come near to shore just underneath her. Here, she is just in the process of changing direction from here path towards the river. #3 - change of plans

 

Grizzly bear fishing technique series - monochrome 04 of 05Grizzly bear fishing technique series - monochrome 04 of 05Much to my amazement as I was shooting this sequence, the bear just launched out over the stream in a long jump that took her about 4-m from shore, where she came down right on top a group of salmon. During this whole charge, I was not aware of her once taking her eye off the fish. Bear Cave Mountain is extremely remote (2+ hours by helicopter north of Dawson City) and strictly managed by the local First Nation. Only seven groups of 4 photographers each get to visit annually for bear viewing. Of all the places in the world I have traveled, this spot is the only place I have ever been that I would consider truly pristine. #4 - the leap

 

Grizzly bear fishing technique series - monochrome 05 of 05Grizzly bear fishing technique series - monochrome 05 of 05The final image in this series shows just part of the chaos once she hit the river. In this series, she was unsuccessful in catching the salmon. Grizzly bears are 'scary smart', to me seeming to be on par in intelligence with a smart hunting dog. #5 - chaos in the creek

 

 

 

 

 

 


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