Grizzly fishing for salmon
The Bear that got away with the Fish.
My brief stay in 2002 at floating Knight Inlet Lodge was wonderful, and I was looking forward to seeing the grizzly bears.I was not disappointed as they turned up, one at a time to look for the fish they were expecting to catch. It was the time for the salmon run and I waited expectantly on the platform overlooking a small weir, where it is easier to catch the salmon as they fight their way upstream, and a good place view them at close quarters. Well, I was not disappointed as they turned up, one at a time to look for the fish they were expecting to catch, and appeared to be making a circuit, patrolling the weir. Some stood on the bank looking up and down while others waded into the stream,gazing despondently at the empty water. You could almost hear them thinking: "Where are the fish? But no fish appeared because there were no fish that we could see. What had happened to the salmon run?
Then, all of a sudden, one bear came rushing round the base of our platform in a great hurry and plunged into the water excitedly. He stood on his hind legs to get a good look then dived into the water and came up with - yes, a fish in his mouth!! Of course my camera battery decide to expire at that very moment but I managed to get a departing view of the bear, fish in mouth, striding into the bushes. He was not taking any chances that it might be stolen from him and had decided to eat it in solitary enjoyment.
I saw many bears in those two days of fantastic bear watching, but there was only one fish! I couldn't help but wonder what they would do when it was time to go into hibernation as there would not be much fat on them to exist for all the time spent away from the world. No one seemed to know why the fish had failed and I felt so sorry for them and often wondered how they managed. It was sad to see their puzzled expressions when the fish they were expecting for a good meal failed to arrive, but glad for the lucky one although one fish would not go very far. Better than nothing I guess!
Although the salmon runs does vary in timing and size from year to year we are happy to report the bears are doing very well 8 years later. This story was contributed by Elvor Shaw who was heading out to go line dancing, at age 88, after emailing me the photo in this story. Way to go Mrs. Shaw!