This grizzly bear seems to be devouring the salmon headfirst. The time of the year determines what part of the salmon the bears will eat. The photo by Lindy Taylor was the start of September when the pink salmon first appear in great number so the whole fish is consumed. As the season progresses they eat on the really fatty parts, such as the brain and the ovaries packed with eggs and the skin – giving them maximum calories per bite. This selective eating by the successful grizzlies provide food for bears that are less able to catch live salmon. The discards drift down stream and become meals for other bears and the ever present bald eagles. One of the viewing stand is by a deeper water pool and some bears just sit and scavenge all day this sure saves energy and that helps puts on the fat layer.
Grizzly bear fishing techniques vary but from the number of salmon around the bear in the first photo not too much skill is required on this day. One fish under the belly another in the water and a third under the raised paw this makes it easy for this sub-adult grizzly. The second bear in deeper water seems to have its eye on the fish but isn’t sure how to catch the salmon. Because of the number of salmon the bears are very tolerant of one another it is common to see several mothers with cubs as well and juvenile bears feeding in the viewing area at the same time. After the two hour viewing time we are permitted on the stands it is back to the estuary for a picnic lunch possible a run up the river in the skiff and another chance for more wildlife on the return to the lodge.