When you head outdoors in search of your prize salmon, more likely than not you are entering bear country. Fishing in bear country can be an amazing experience, but make sure you’re prepared. Here are a few tips to help you safely share the area with bears, who may want to fish in the same places.
Carry Bear Spray
Always keep bear spray holstered on you or on the outside of your pack within immediate reach when fishing in bear country. When cleaning fish or field dressing game, keep your bear spray on you. When purchasing bear spray, check the spray distance and duration as not all are the same. Counter Assault’s 10.2 oz. bear spray canister is the furthest-reaching bear spray, with an impressive 40 feet of spray distance.
Don’t Go Out Solo
Groups make more noise and appear more daunting to a bear. You’ll also have support in the event of a bear encounter. Each person should carry their own bear spray when fishing in bear country.
Share Trip Plans
Tell someone where you’re going and when you plan to return before you head out.
Talk, sing, or clap loudly to let a bear know of your presence, especially near bodies of water, thick brushy shore areas, or when you can’t see around a corner.
Use caution in areas with signs of bear activity. Keep your eyes open for paw prints, droppings, claw marks on trees, rolled over rocks, ripped apart logs, and freshly dug holes. Avoid tunnel vision by periodically looking around and behind you.
Keep odorous foods, drinks, and hygiene items at home. When fishing in bear country, hang daypacks in trees and make sure camp items are secured before you leave. Store any scented items in bear-resistant containers like the Counter Assault Bear Keg. Don’t leave caught fish exposed on the bank; instead, keep them on a stringer, closely attended. Clean your fish at home or at designated fish-cleaning stations, making sure to follow local regulations.
If a Bear Approaches You While Fishing…
Cut the line or give the line some slack to stop the splashing, as splashing fish can attract bears. If the bear attempts to take the fish from you, throw it back into the current. Have your bear spray at the ready.