Diving Under to Catch a Salmon

A vast expanse of rivers, lakes, and volcanoes, Katmai National Park and Preserve has become famous for its massive “Sockeye” Salmon and its abundance of furry, 1,000-pound Brown Bears that stalk its shores.

Katmai National Park and Preserve is one of the most remote National Parks in the country, with no roads or train tracks connecting it to the outside world. Located on the Alaskan Peninsula (bottom center of the State), visiting requires booking a floatplane trip from the nearby small town of King Salmon.

Originally established as a National Monument in 1918 and a Park in 1980 (Reagan) to monitor a series of volcanoes in the area (including the eponymous “Mount Katmai”), the Park has become a popular spot to both fisherman and tourists alike, due to the massive Sockeye Salmon that attempt every Summer to “jump” upstream past a small army of American Brown Bears.

A slightly larger version of the American Grizzly Bear, these Brown Bears have established a hierarchy on the rivers that effects how each of them gets to catch fish. The largest of the bears will stand at the top of waterfalls and attempt to catch the fish mid-air as they leap up the falls, while the smaller bears will perform the more difficult task of diving under the water and catching the fish as they swim upstream.

Here are my photos (and Video!) from my trip to this uniquely epic National Park:

A Large Brown Bear Catching Salmon

A Massive Brown Bear catches a Salmon as it leaps upstream

Bear catching Salmon

A Brown Bear Successfully captures a Sockeye Salmon

Delicious Meal for Bear

A delicious meal of Salmon for this Bear

Here’s a short video I made about the Bears:

A Bear’s Life from TheMorganBurke on Vimeo.

Looking Out Over Katmai

Looking out over Katmai National Park and Preserve

Bear catching Salmon

Gotcha Salmon!

A Mother Brown Bear in Katmai

A Mother Bear Stands to Protect her young (behind her)

A Float Plane

The Float Plane I took to Reach the Park

Bear Catching Salmon

Salmon Leaping Upstream

A Salmon Leaping Upstream



Katmai Mountains

Looking out over the Alaskan Peninsula

The Katmai Marsh

Diving Under to Catch a Salmon

A Smaller Brown Bear successfully dives under the water and catches a Salmon swimming upstream

Categories: US National Parks