Juvenile brown bears are inquisitive creatures and won’t turn down a free lunch when they can find it. That could include first-run red salmon bound for the Russian River already caught and put on a stringer, or a backpack full of human food left unattended on the bank. This year there has been two sets of sows with cubs frequenting the Upper Kenai near the ferry—one on each side of the river— regularly working the shorelines. One man I spoke with had been blissfully fishing on the north side while listening to music through earphones when he suddenly noticed two small cubs right out in the river with him 30 feet or so to one side and the mother bear out there too on the other side. The way he described it I doubt he’ll forget the experience of being sandwiched between a sow and cubs for a very long time. Nothing bad happened, fortunately, as he eventually waded around the bears and made his way back to the parking lot the long way around and cautiously went back to his previous fishing spot to retrieve the backpack he’d left on the bank. I don’t think he did any more fishing that day.
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