Russian River Bear
This past year we decided to fish the Russian River in Cooper Landing instead of our normal favorite places during the months of August and September. We have never really spent much time on the river but Kristie wanted to see if we could do our damage here as well as we can on the other nearby creeks and rivers. We were beginning to really understand some parts of the river when we heard there we some bear moving up and down the river this particular day. The river was bustling with other fly fisherman and we had been there about an hour ourselves. I was in the river on the far side setting up my camera and equipment from where Kristie was near the board walk that parallels the river. She was fishing and I wasn't at that moment.
One of us is usually watching up and down the river while the other fishes so we aren't surprised by any bear. Kristie was watching and saw two bear round the corner a good distance up river from us. She called out to tell me over the sound of the river as two young guys pushed through the water to the stairs near Kristie was so they could get out of the way of the bear. We had been told there were 3 or 4 bear hanging out fishing. I gathered my equipment and began wading back towards Kristie. About that time another bear showed up on the side of the river i had been on but it was down near the other two as well. I reached Kristie and noticed a man in a yellow raincoat on the bank holding a video camera and trying to lean out over the river to video the bear. I stopped to take a few photos as Kristie fished and watched the bears. At this point we realized another bear had walked into the scene so there were now four total. As we watched them it appeared to be a momma with twins and a two year old, probably a previous cub of hers.
We watched them closely as they ate dead fish, swam in a couple places in the river and generally lounged around. Kristie fished and I made sure they kept a distance, that means I stood next to her and waited until they began to move our way and told her. As we went up the stairs out of the water the gentleman in the yeallow raincoat and I exchanged smiles and head nods. He was a tourist, pretty obvious from this appearance. I told him the bear were headed towards us. He motioned down towards the next stairs that were closer to the bear I said, yes that's where they were. He quickly walked off towards them. Kristie and I decided to follow a couple minutes later. It was a good 100 or so feet and as we walked up the man in the yellow rain coat was facing the river away from us. I moved to go past him and he jumped and let out a little yelp. I apologized and he said, in broken english that he had went to the stairs and looking across the river at the two bear did not realize there were two bears within ten feet at the bottom of the stairs. He was so focused on videoing that he walked right up onto them, he said he yelled and the bear got spooked and splashed all around. We told him be careful and began walking up towards another area to fish up river.
The man in the yellow raincoat was following us. We reached a spot where several people were gathered watching two bear swim and catch fish. As we stood there marveling at the big beautiful bruins, no one said a word and we all just watched in awe, they were no more than 15 feet from us down the bank from where we stood. We all watched and photographed the bear for a bit before Kristie and I went back down river to find a place to fish.
We were run off the river two more times later that particular day before the bear left us to fish. We had great fun catching and releasing a good number of large dolly's and a few rainbows, and almost as much fun avoiding the bear. Sometimes it was a watch and wait because we wanted to fish exactly where the bear were fishing. I realized obviously a good spot since we all wanted to be there. Hope you enjoyed a snippet from a day in our life in September 2017.