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Katmai Brown Bears

A trip to Katmai National Park, located on the Alaska Peninsula, afforded a memorable bear viewing experience. Reaching a weight of 1,500 pounds, adult Brown Bears are truly impressive. Standing nearly 10 feet tall on their hind legs, they command respect in the animal world.

Bear Fighting

Bear Claw

Bear Catching Fish

  Common Names:
  Scientific Name:
  Brown Bear, Grizzly Bear
  Ursus arctos
  North America, Northern Eurasia
  Height (on 4 Legs):
  Height (Upright):
  3.5 to 5 feet
  7 to 10 feet
  400 to 1,500 pounds

When wandering in the land of the Brown Bear, a photographer can be surrounded by dozens of Bears, especially near shallow rivers where Salmon is abundant.

In spite of their huge size and weight, Brown Bears are surprisingly fast, and with their relatively small eyes, it is often difficult to read a Bear's expression.

Humans are no match against a Brown Bear, so it is recommended to keep a safe distance, especially when a Mama Bear has Cubs by her side.

6 Month Old Bear Cubs

Bear Catching Fish

In late summer, the Brown Bears of Katmai move from the coastal regions of the Alaska Peninsula to the interior, following the salmon migration upstream. Today, Brown Bears gather along the river and have their eyes on Red Salmon. With a high fat content, salmon is a critical source of food for Brown Bears who need to store as many calories as possible before they hibernate.

Sockeye Salmon in River

Bear Fishing for Salmon

Thousands of Sockeye Salmon swim around in the shallow waters, taunting the hungry Bears. However, it is not as easy to catch one of these fish as it seems. Some Bears are still learning how to catch fish...

Bear with Fish

After trial and error and after a lot of chasing and splashing, some lucky Bears finally manage to get a well deserved salmon.

Brown Bear Fighting

The Alaska Peninsula is home to a large concentration of Brown Bears. With dozens of Bears sharing the same territory and source of food, competition often leads to confrontation. These two Bears are seen in a violent fight in the middle of the river.

Katmai National Park

A short scenic flight departing from Anchorage takes us to bear country in Katmai National Park. The small plane lands on the northern portion of Katmai National Park, leaving us in a pristine wilderness. The landscape is simply breathtaking, and Bears can be seen immediately.

Brown Bear Family

At this time of the year, Brown Bears cubs have grown quite a bit and continually learn how to behave like Bears under the guidance of Mama Bear. The cubs remain close to the mother and follow her as she teaches them how to catch a fish.

Mama Bear teaching cub to fish

Mama Bear and Cubs explore the river banks in search of salmon. These Cubs (right) are approximately one year and a half.

Bear and Cub

Bear Cub on Mama's Back

This Bear Cub climbed on Mama's back as it was frightened by other Bears in the vincinity.

Too Close for Comfort

This huge Brown Bear, which was in a safe distance, suddenly turns around and starts walking towards us. The "safe distance" shrinks after every step the Bear takes. It is now less than 30 feet away, and the snorting and puffing sounds it makes can be heard more and more loudly, as a stark reminder of its proximity.

Uh Oh, now less than 10 feet away, we can't help but be fixated by the sight of the huge claws that keep getting bigger and bigger in the viewfinder. The sound of our hearts pounding in our chests now begins to drown even the noise the Bear makes. This Bear is too close for comfort.

Fortunately, Salmon is so abundant in the shallows that the Bear doesn't bother us. As it passes barely a few feet in front of us, we take a good look at the massive Bear claws.

Brown Bear Fishing for Salmon

A Brown Bear chases after Sockeye Salmon in the shallow waters, but it only manages to scare the fish away as soon as it jumps into the river. After multiples attempts, the Brown Bear finally catches a salmon.

A Brown Bear catches a red salmon in the shallow waters, and violently tears it apart in a big splash of water.

Shadow of Bear Jumping on Fish

Bear Tearing Fish Apart

Bear Life on the Peninsula

A day in the life of a Brown Bear in Katmai National Park: Bear walking along the river banks, fighting, sleeping, Mama Bear with cubs.

Bear Sleeping

Bear Fighting

Bear with Cubs

Katmai Brown Bear

Another Brown Bear seen fishing in the river.

Alaska Brown Bears

Coastal Brown Bears move to the interior, following the Salmon migration upstream.

Clumsy Bear


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