Bear Cam in Alaska: watch them fish!

All my life I’ve wanted to watch the grizzlies (aka brown bears) in Alaska fish for salmon. Some day I will, in the fur. Well, now there’s a livecam at one of the most famous sites: Brooks Falls at Katmai National Park. Here the wily bears have learned that the salmon have to leap out of the water when they jump upstream over the falls, and they try to grab them. You’ll see that they don’t look very good at it!

Have a look, and bookmark it. What better break can you have, when work gets tedious, than to watch bears catch huge fish? It’s mesmerizing!

Just click on the red arrow to start the fun:

h/t: jsp


  1. Kevin
    Posted July 11, 2016 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Their reaction time seems slower than I would have thought. Maybe their bellies are already distended.

  2. sgo
    Posted July 11, 2016 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    I’ve watched this webcam before, perhaps two years ago or so (or one similar, at least) – fascinating indeed!

  3. Heather Hastie
    Posted July 11, 2016 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    I could watch this for hours!

  4. ladyatheist
    Posted July 11, 2016 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    I have watched this cam before. It’s hypnotic! And sometimes the babies show up and watch from the sidelines.

  5. phoffman56
    Posted July 11, 2016 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    A few years ago we drove our Norwegian friends around Alaska, then slowly back east using Alaska Hwy.-Stewart/Cassiar-through Jasper-Banff-Dinosaur Park-etc: 10,000km for them, 15,000 for us, to Toronto.

    The absolute best wildlife was seeing a bunch of grizzlies fishing pretty close twice: 1st night and last night in Alaska Panhandle.

    First was at the end of the ferry from Washington, at Haines, Alaska just up at where Chilcoot Creek comes out of Chilcoot Lake. Last was maybe 10 km up from Haider (next to Stewart, BC at bottom of Panhandle), where, among other things, a big bad male chased a female and her large cub away in an almost Moronation Street bear soap opera (about Sept. 10 by then). By the way, the morons are the TV characters, not the bears.

    I hadn’t realized the salmon were sometimes heading back upstream as early as July 10. I’ll bet there will be even more action on the webcam in 6 weeks.

    • phoffman56
      Posted July 11, 2016 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

      Not Haider–should have been Hyder. Sorry.

  6. Posted July 11, 2016 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    I watched one about polar bears. There was amazing video recordings of their hunting, swimming etc.

  7. bluemaas
    Posted July 11, 2016 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    I have seen this .at. Brooks Lodge, Katmai, mid July — right about now actually — y1997. A child of mine was then a seasonal employee of the Lodge; his “season” took him till the end of the first week of that year’s December. Once a week on Fridays, he and his mate were telephoned (some technological radio – telephone – type deal) from the Lodge’s Anchorage administrative hq — to see if i) the two humans were all right / still healthy and ii) if there was only one or zero bears still awake. Still scratching at their domiciling area ! Or not. Zachary’s sightings / the bears’ diminishing number of scratchings ? That was the bosses’ way of determining when to fly in and take Zac + mate out for the rest of the wintertime.

    I flew in on pontoon plane to meet up with Zac there that July then. I, right off, had had to go to Bear – Watching School and learn humans’ etiquette therefor. One piece of that is thus: tourists may miss suppertime at the Lodge cuz if there is a grizzly betwixt you and the Lodge, why, You, Human, you wait, in complete silence, till the grizzly decides to go elsewhere. That decision – making and your waiting may make you altogether miss out on that evening’s noms, that is. (Main course ? Usually a form of divinely fixed … … salmon, of course ! Truly.)

    The salmon – jumping ? Viewing it from the humans’ platform thereby ? Freakin’ unbelievable.


    ps Only ten days’ (of a more or less leisurely) drive to Anchorage, Dr Coyne, at where you may catch a flight to King Salmon and, there, book a pontoon on in to Brooks Lodge ! You have the proclivity of a couple of weeks’ worth of a place to go this summer, not ? So as not to hafta drive your transport back either i) rent something and leave it there or ii) take your own and fly someone else up to the Anchorage airport to drive it back to Chicago for you — as used for their vacationing vehicle !

  8. David Thompson
    Posted July 11, 2016 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    Super fun web cam site. Last year there was a mother bear showing her two cubs the ropes that ended up needing to protect them from an overly curious male. I think there’s a clip actually.
    Not sure where I did, but I remember hearing that their lackadaisical fishing style isn’t really so much that they’re bad at it (you try it), but that the cost/benefit thing works out that they don’t want to burn any more calories than absolutely necessary. At the high point of the run, the fish will be so plentiful that the bears won’t even bother to eat the whole thing, but just tear off and eat the fatty skin. That at least they get very efficient at.

    • ladyatheist
      Posted July 12, 2016 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      That’s why the birds are hanging out downstream. They eat the leftovers.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted July 12, 2016 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

        What are the odds that lots of aquatic detritivores “make hay” on the salmon run, then make babies, which hatch in time to become food for next years’ cubs….)?

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted July 12, 2016 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

          Damn – I meannt whatever the babies of salmon are called … not cubs … fishing for the word. Salvers? Complete brain fade.

  9. rickflick
    Posted July 11, 2016 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    I am just too thrilled! What wonderful creatures! And to see them on live-cam from a couple of thousand miles away is just astonishing! I can just taste the fresh sushi.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted July 12, 2016 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

      And to see them on live-cam from a couple of thousand miles away is just astonishing!

      Someone somewhere could turn the webcam feed into a source of high grade entropy for cryptography … No, srsly.

  10. Dominic
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 3:00 am | Permalink

    … no bears when I looked 😦

    • Posted July 12, 2016 at 7:13 am | Permalink

      They’re there now, but the light is still dim (8am EST, about 5am PST there)…

    • Posted July 12, 2016 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      Look now, Dominic…. (10:51am EST, good light)… 2 bears there now! 😀

  11. Posted July 12, 2016 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    I’m not a bear, so I don’t know, but wouldn’t it make more sense to stand facing downstream so the salmon are coming toward them?

  12. John Frum
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    I just watched for about 5 minutes and saw a bear catch one. I saw the salmon jump up but it must have ended up near the Bears feet. The bear then nosed around in the water and got it. Rather well done I thought.

  13. jeffery
    Posted July 13, 2016 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    It’s interesting to note that the bear-salmon relationship plays a big role in the ecosystem of the surrounding forest: the bears defecate in the woods, spreading nutrients and trace minerals far from the stream.

  14. Posted July 15, 2016 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    I saw a flotilla of water fowl in the foreground, early this morning!

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