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Thread: Russian River Bear Update

  1. #1
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Russian River Bear Update

    Hi folks,

    Just returned from the Russian River where my daughter and I managed to yard out a few reds. Thought I'd offer some updates for those interested.

    1. The limit on reds has gone up from three to four. Lots of fish there now, but if you don't go right away...

    2. The two cubs that were left over after last summers' shooting of a sow and cub; One of the two cubs was wounded and the other was feeding it by fishing on behalf of the other cub. No word on whether the second cub had a proxy permit or not, but I heard that the uninjured cub was relocated to the Moose Pass area, and the other is in the Russian River area learning how to fish on his own.

    3. A brown bear sow was shot just below the ferry crossing on Monday, I believe. The bear left two cubs behind, which have not been located. The news said that the ferry operator told folks all day that a sow with cubs was in the area, but against her advice, two individuals went bushwacking in the area anyway, ran into the bears and shot the sow.

    4. There have been both black and brown bears spotted along the Russian. Yesterday morning there was a brown bear sitting at the foot of the stairs leading down from the Pink Salmon parking lot.

    5. Which handgun should I use for bear protection? Heh.

    -Mike
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  2. #2

    Default

    How difficult would it be, for the State to electrify all the fencing they have strung along the banks of the Russian River? This would eliminate the bear problems completely. Just wondering if there is a fishing organization that maintains the Record Book for trophy fish caught behind High Fences? Not very sporting to me, catching all those fish that have no opportunity for escape. Fences along the banks and a dead end lake at the final destination.

  3. #3
    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    Default

    Thanks for the update

  4. #4

    Angry Bear Problems?

    "How difficult would it be, for the State to electrify all the fencing they have strung along the banks of the Russian River? This would eliminate the bear problems completely."

    It doesn't appear the bears are causing any problems on the Russian River. They are simply fishing in their environment, and are entitled to fish the area just like the fisherman. Occasionally, they will steal some stringered fish, but more ofter than not it's the careless fisherman to blame. I enjoy going down to the river to see the wildlife, and don't feel the need to bring a fire arm. The idea of an electric fence running the length of the Russian is ridiculous. My take is if your afraid of bears stay away from the areas they are known to inhabit.

  5. #5

    Default Tired of hearing of this.

    I'm not against catching fish or protecting yourself from bears, but this seems to happen every year.....bears interacting with humans at the Russian River. How come they can fish and view bears over in Katmai without any problems. The problem at the Russian is idiots that shouldn't be allowed to carry firearms. I sure wish they'd close that river down everytime bears were showing aggressive behavior. Now we have 4 cubs running around without a sow to show them the ways. Put up electric fences....what a joke. Why not just clear cut that entire area so that we can see the bears coming for miles. Wake up people, the bears were there first and if you can't live with them, come on down to Homer and we'll let you fish shoulder to shoulder in the fishing hole with the tourists just like on the Russian.

  6. #6

    Angry People problems

    In my opinion, the problem is not with the bears but with the people. Like steelieguy said, the bears have every right to fish there and probably more so since they have been there fishing a lot longer than people have. Give the bears their space and let them fish, there's plenty for everyone.

  7. #7
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    Default Fencing

    There is no "fencing" along the Russian River.

    There are some "snow fence" barriers meant to keep fishermen off the fragile streambanks right at the river's edge .......to hopefully give it a chance to revegetate and recover. This "blocking off" is suplimented by the use of mats and in some cases the hand planting of trees and other vegetation. For anyone who saw some of these streches of streambank years ago and sees how wonderfully this has worked it is indeed gratifying.

    That's why I always flucutate between being distressed and infuriated when I see people shove the "please stay off the stream bank in this area" sign out of the way.......push down the orange plastic snow fence.......and tromp through the area trying to find a fish to snag.......

    how shameful it is that these people pass themselves off as "sportsmen"

    at any rate there are no "fences" per se along the Russian River and certainly none that can be "juiced"

    I too saw the cub earlier this year.......he was already pretty bold ....coming to cleaning stations and bank eddies around them to find salmon carcasses......only a matter of time before this bear too has to be dealt with in a lethal manner............ or is shot by some idiot

    bottom line is as long as they allow people to fish in this area ....bears that mix in with all these people will wind up dead.............not good..........not right.......but that's just the plain ole fact........because bears are bears and too many people are A) lazy or B) ignorant or C) both of the above

    I think there could be some things that could be done to lessen this problem if people were serious about it......... a few less bears would be shot .......... but the vast majority of people are NOT serious about it

    why else do people leave coolers of food on the bank while they fish????.....(I haven't seen too many people fishing down there who wouldn't benefit from skipping or delaying a meal for a few hours while they fish)......

    why else do people throw whole carcasses into slow moving water ?? (even whole carcasses thrown into fast moving water will most likely eventually wash into a backwater and become a bear attractant)........
    yeah it's a hassle but as long as the balls of salmon carcasses are there the bears will be too........

    Bears are not on the lower Russian to fish..........this is not a good area for bears to fish.........bears naturally feed on salmon above the falls where it is MUCH MUCH easier for them to catch salmon........

    Bears are down along the lower Russian river to raise cubs away from the large males that have the upper russian river staked out.........then they come in contact with all of the trash/food people leave laying about and the end result is inevitable..........

  8. #8

    Default So

    Quote Originally Posted by AKCheese
    There is no "fencing" along the Russian River.

    There are some "snow fence" barriers meant to keep fishermen off the fragile streambanks right at the river's edge .......to hopefully give it a chance to revegetate and recover. This "blocking off" is suplimented by the use of mats and in some cases the hand planting of trees and other vegetation. For anyone who saw some of these streches of streambank years ago and sees how wonderfully this has worked it is indeed gratifying.

    That's why I always flucutate between being distressed and infuriated when I see people shove the "please stay off the stream bank in this area" sign out of the way.......push down the orange plastic snow fence.......and tromp through the area trying to find a fish to snag.......

    how shameful it is that these people pass themselves off as "sportsmen"

    at any rate there are no "fences" per se along the Russian River and certainly none that can be "juiced"

    I too saw the cub earlier this year.......he was already pretty bold ....coming to cleaning stations and bank eddies around them to find salmon carcasses......only a matter of time before this bear too has to be dealt with in a lethal manner............ or is shot by some idiot

    bottom line is as long as they allow people to fish in this area ....bears that mix in with all these people will wind up dead.............not good..........not right.......but that's just the plain ole fact........because bears are bears and too many people are A) lazy or B) ignorant or C) both of the above

    I think there could be some things that could be done to lessen this problem if people were serious about it......... a few less bears would be shot .......... but the vast majority of people are NOT serious about it

    why else do people leave coolers of food on the bank while they fish????.....(I haven't seen too many people fishing down there who wouldn't benefit from skipping or delaying a meal for a few hours while they fish)......

    why else do people throw whole carcasses into slow moving water ?? (even whole carcasses thrown into fast moving water will most likely eventually wash into a backwater and become a bear attractant)........
    yeah it's a hassle but as long as the balls of salmon carcasses are there the bears will be too........

    Bears are not on the lower Russian to fish..........this is not a good area for bears to fish.........bears naturally feed on salmon above the falls where it is MUCH MUCH easier for them to catch salmon........

    Bears are down along the lower Russian river to raise cubs away from the large males that have the upper russian river staked out.........then they come in contact with all of the trash/food people leave laying about and the end result is inevitable..........
    If the Large Males were "removed" from the area above the falls (hint, hint, all you bear hunters), the sows would rear their cubs there, away from the crowds. Good idea, sounds to me like.

  9. #9

    Default

    AkRes, in case you were unaware, there is no brown bear hunting in that unit except for a skant few days during a registration hunt in October so thinning out the males near Russain Lake is not an option.

  10. #10
    Member dwhunter's Avatar
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    Default Bears

    Please keep up the bear sightings etc.

    I am feeding them to a buddy of mine that is coming up with me this week. He is in a wheelchair and has nicknamed himself "meals on wheels". Joe comes up with me most every summer to fish but has yet to see a bear.


    Doug

  11. #11

    Default Russian river

    Let us face the facts the Russian River is full of novice fisherman. There are many bears there, many people carry guns there. Many people are scared and or do not not know how to be around bears. These are the facts. I truly believe that the ability to carry a weapon is a God given right in our country. I have many and i carry one. However in an area as sensetive as the Russian river is things might have to be different. I believe i read that in Denali know weapons may be brought into the park. What if we out lawed deadly weapons on the Russian and ferry area? What if we allowed only common sense and non lethal weapons like pepper spray? This is very hard for me to suggest as i always carry a gun but it may be somthing to think about. Anyone have any comments on this? Chef

  12. #12

    Default Nope

    Sorry, but the next time someone gets his scalp ripped off like three or four years ago and no one had a weapon...bad idea. People need to be able to defend themselves. I'm not saying that those people who have shot the bears did the right thing, but I say people need to be able to defend themselves. If a bear grabs my kid, my wife, myself, some other fisherman, I want to be able to turn the bear into swiss cheese.
    Hike faster. I hear banjo music.

  13. #13
    Member Tomcat's Avatar
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    Exclamation

    Camped at the Russian from Monday to Thursday last week. On the first evening, we spotted Gimpy (the wounded, three-year-old brown bear) just waking up from a nap near the foot of the stairs at the Grayling Parking Area.

    It was amazing to watch people walking up from the river carrying fish along the trail totally oblivious to the resting bear only 30 yards away. Gimpy seemed totally uninterested in the passerbys, but we quickly alerted folks to its presence.

    After we made our way to the river and started fishing, the bear was spotted along the bank and it slowly began wading upstream. Noticed it munching on at least one salmon, but not sure whether it was a live fish or simply a carcass. Eventually, Gimpy made his way to the other side and disappeared into the brush.

    Later that evening, I talked to a guy who witnessed a fisherman antagonizing the bruin further upstream. Evidently, Gimp tried to take over a hole and all but one fishermen made a hasty exit. It seems there was a stand-off between the two. Refusing to back down, the guy was waving his handgun around, shouting and lunging at the bear. Meanwhile, Gimpy was standing on his hind legs, roaring and shaking his head. He even made a few bluff charges. Since those tactics failed to intimidate the guy, the bear retreated.

    Definitely glad to hear that the bear had more sense the the jerk with the gun. Sounds like there was a good sized audience and the guy may have been trying to show-off and prove that he wasn't afraid of bears. Either that or he was just looking for an excuse to pull the trigger.

    I also heard a report of a grizzly swimming across the Kenai and exiting the mouth of the Russian at about noon last Wednesday. Supposedly, he nearly walked right over the top of a guy who was concentrating on the fish and not paying attention to his surroundings. Regardless, the bear simply strolled through the pack of anglers in sanctuary and continued further upstream.

    After our initial encounter, we figured there would be plenty more bear sightings during our stay. Surprisingly enough though, we only had the one.

    After what we saw, it was kind of a wake-up call. Certainly makes me wonder how often I've passed within a few yards of a bear that's bedded down in the brush. Based on my observation, the bear seemed completely habituated humans and appeared indifferent to our presence.

  14. #14
    Member AK Trout's Avatar
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    Default

    Hit the russian yesterday...saw the griz below the fillet station by rainbow trout. Everyone was pretty good about getting out of the way..excpet those that seem to believe that they need to get close to take a good picture. Cameras these days have really good zooms so i dont know why. Also saw a nice black bear dropping down the hill right above jailbait

    "I Envy Him And Him Only, That Catches More Fish Than I Do" Izaac Walton 1653
    The question of hunting is not a matter of life or death... it's more important than that

  15. #15

    Default

    Fished the upper Russian near the falls (5 or 10 minutes from falls) with my wife on Sunday. Was able to hit the water around 8 in the morn after the mandatory 1.5 hour wait in line. I was able to take my four within 20 minutes, and was busy spotting fish and providing tips to my wife. She was making a nice drift and looking downstream when she spotted a black bear sneak out of brush-grab a carcass and bolt back uphill.

    I decided to clean my fish and continue spotting for her when I saw a brownie walking up the trail towards us. If any of you have been up there, you know that the trail is pretty narrow, and there aren’t a lot of options. I loaded up our fish, packed rods while keeping an eye on him and started walking upstream. The speed with which these guys cover ground is incredible. Two other fisherman in the area opted to climb a bank overlooking the pool we were fishing, while the rest of us (10 or so) were pushed about 100 yards upstream. These two would shout occasionally, causing the bear to be cognizant of our presence and to slow his forward progress.

    I contemplated moving across the river if he continued on the trail as time and space was running out-but the bear decided to chase fish in “our” hole. We watched and waited for him to finish playing and he eventually worked his way back down and out of sight. Our new spot offered my wife two more nice reds, and we were then able to make the uneventful trip back down to the Pink Salmon lot.

    All this happened with my Freedom Arms .454 Casull strapped to my chest. Never once did I feel that the guns presence affected or had any influence on my actions. It is a measure of last resort, and will always be that. My wife probably feels a bit better when I have it, but the truth of the matter is that there is enough room for everyone if we use our heads.

    “meals on wheels…?!!” too much

  16. #16
    Member AK Trout's Avatar
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    Default

    You mean the bears spot? That whole river is the bears...we are merely visitors.

    "I Envy Him And Him Only, That Catches More Fish Than I Do" Izaac Walton 1653
    The question of hunting is not a matter of life or death... it's more important than that

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    Default Dip Net'm

    What a joke...I can't wait till they turn the Russian in to a dip net only fishery. That'll solve all the problems. Better yet, put in a fish wheel, just drive by, pay your $8.00 for the ferry and pick up your fish. The tourists will eat it up.

    This is exactly the reason I sold my cat. Waaaaay to crowded and toooo many idiots. Sheeeeeesh.

    Why......I remember when.........

  18. #18
    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Thumbs up What's the point?

    I have lived in Alaska since 1964. I have fished all over the state for just about every species, all four seasons of the year. I've never fished the Russian, and probably never will. Force feeding reds while dodging hooks, urbanites, out of staters, and bears just seems the epitome of ridiculous to me. It is the antithesis of everything Alaska is... well, at least used to be. If you want meat fish, dip netting makes more sense. If you think ripping is sporting, then you've lost touch with true outdoors ethics.

    Don't get me wrong: I'm basically a meat fisherman, and only fish where it is legal and ethical to catch and kill. But if you can't coax a fish to pursue and bite the offering at the end of your line, then its just glorified snagging.

    Oh well, let them have it. At least it keeps the rippers away from real fishing venues for a few weeks.

  19. #19
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    Talking Calling a spade a spade. . .

    Quote Originally Posted by sayak
    ...if you can't coax a fish to pursue and bite the offering at the end of your line, then its just glorified snagging.
    Down in British Columbia, it's called "FLOSSING."

  20. #20
    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Default

    "Down in British Columbia, it's called "FLOSSING.""

    Yeah, well the Cannucks have some interesting ideas, aye?

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