Molly, my sister (Charity), and I went out to do some pre-season scouting on the south shore of Tustumena lake today. The weather was marginal but we went out anyway, hoping to make it to Big Bay at the minimum. We launched and headed up river in the rain. (Glad I got a boat with a canvas top and a windshield!)
We scooted through between Caribou Island and the south shore of the lake, to the dismay of the boaters and campers tied up on shore. There are advantages of having a jet, even on big lakes, as it saved us from pounding 2' waves for about 5 miles. Once out of Nikolai bay we were forced to slow down to about 15-17 mph due to the rough water and as we pushed on toward Big Bay. Just as we got to the bigger bay just west of Big Bay we turned around as the waves were growing near the 3' level. I wanted to shoot across to Bear Creek on the northern shore but the water was just too rough for my little jet boat.
We headed back, making zig zags into the waves to keep most of the water out of the boat. As we got back into the protection of Caribou Islands eastern most projection we decided it was time for a potty break. I beached the boat at Nikolai Creek and the girls headed out to find a tree to hide behind. My sister went south along the eastern bank of Nikolai creek and Molly went east as I dug my 338 from the boat.
The ladies finished up and we headed up the creek to watch the fish spawning in the shallows. Right as I was about to catch up to my sister I see her repeatedly jump about 2' in the air, yelling "There’s a bear, there’s a bear". I look ahead and sure enough, there is the biggest grizzly I have ever seen, standing with his hind feet up on the bank, front feet about 4 feet below, catching fish from the creek. Not 20 yards from where Charity had taken care of her "Business". As my sister ran past me the bear snagged a bright red salmon and turned to head up the bank. He stopped as he turned into the grass and gave me a look like "Ya, I'm gonna walk away, but don't even think about coming any closer."
I told the girls to calm down, don't run, and start walking slowly back toward the boat. I racked a 225 grain Barnes TSX into the chamber of my Tikka, flipped the safety on, and started slowly backing down the little trail we had come in on.
The bear stopped about 15 yards from his fishing hole, turned, and sat. He watched us back away for about 30 seconds (seemed like forever!) then sauntered off into the woods with his catch, seemingly without a care in the world.
We loaded back up (hearts racing), pushed off while looking over our shoulders, and headed back to the truck with huge smiles on our faces. It was an awesome site! The bear was beautiful, and the setting was pure, raw, and natural. Its experiences like this that makes me so glad to live in such a wonderful state. Its experiences like this that remind me that just because it’s raining and ugly outside, it doesn't mean we should sit at home and watch TV. It is experiences like this that remind me to be ever vigilant and prepared; mentally, physically, and mechanically.
I love the outdoors!