There's a popular saying among anglers in Alaska that those willing to walk a ways can find relative solitude and excellent fishing even on the most crowded rivers.
I've found this to be true on a number of occasions and my preference is to stay along the stream bank whenever possible. However, there have been times when I've needed to leave the water's edge and blaze a trail through some rather rough terrain to reach these more secluded honey holes.
Obviously, the potential for encountering a bear is greater in these situations, but it hasn't been an issue so far. I credit such uneventful bushwhacking treks to always making a lot of noise and letting the critters know that I'm coming so they can slip away unnoticed.
A buddy tells me that at some point I may run across a bear that would rather charge than flee, especially if it's on a kill.
I haven't carried bear spray or a firearm and really don't want to pack the extra weight. Yet, I'm thinking it may be wise to reconsider in case I eventually cross paths with a bruiser that wants to hold its ground.
What's your take? Can humans and bears co-exist along Alaska's salmon streams? Should anglers always tote repellent or a gun for self-defense?