Fish Camp Woes
This year a giant bear tore up the Popsie Fish Company’s camp near the remote Egegik River in Southwest Alaska before the salmon arrived. These huge brown bears are smart, hungry, and massively powerful.
Early Work on Salmon
Early in his career, Rich was a salmon biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, working near the Egegik River. While there he loved eating the most delicious fish……. Sockeye Salmon.
During the summer millions of wild salmon of five species swarm into Bristol Bay but the sockeye is the most abundant. They are caught by many commercial fishing companies who net them in the bay and along beaches. State biologists ensure that enough fish survive nets to ascend rivers, spawn, and produce plenty of young to keep the runs robust.
Remembering Salmon Dinners
Nearly a half-century ago he and Marion, co-owners of Winding Pathways, moved to the Midwest where there are no Sockeye Salmon. But they love grilling salmon fillets they order from the Popsie Fish Company. It catches, processes, and ships frozen fillets. The Pattersons occasionally order a box. In addition to being delicious and healthy, Alaskan Sockeye salmon are wild fish managed as a sustainable resource.
Bears on the Prowl
This year Popsie Owner Tony Neal had a problem. Like all commercial fishermen, he and his staff arrived well before the salmon run to set up their camp and prepare for fishing. That’s when the trouble arrived.
A brown bear tore its way into their building. Take a look at the photos to see what the bear did. It’s a mess.
There is good news. There’s enough time before the salmon arrive to get everything fixed and ready to catch those delicious fish. To see Popsie Fish Company staff in action take a look at their website www.popsiefishco.com.
Increasing Occurrences of Bears
Iowans occasionally report a bear sighting, especially in NE Iowa where the woods make great shelter and rivers excellent corridors to travel.
Bears are increasing across the country even in urban areas. Past photos in papers have shown a bear walking down a major road near New York City. A recent newspaper article reported how a bear crashed into an Avon, CT, bakery and gobbled up 60 cupcakes before lumbering off. At Cedar Lake, Denville, NJ, a mama bear, and three cubs were recently spotted walking along the road. Actually, that is a fairly common sighting. Residents spread the word so walkers will be alert.
The town police even fondly named one bruin “The Italian Bear.” Each night just after restaurants closed a fat bear would wander from its den, climb into the local Italian eatery’s dumpster, gorge itself, take a snooze, and come morning, climb out and go back to its secret den. Never hurt anyone.
In rural New Hampshire, friends have had bears visit the yard and peek into the house through the windows frequently.
First Person Story
Jackie and Peter Hull in Bedford, Virginia, shared this first-person story of the spring adventures with an unruly bear. “Well, I got up bright and early one spring morning, peeked out the bedroom window and what did I see? A smashed six-foot piece of picket fence, a broken spindle on the front porch, and a shepherd’s hook bent to the ground.
“Lucky me I brought the bird feeders in last night. So now I know I can’t feed the birds anymore this year. This is the second year running when on Mother’s Day last year, a bear came and smashed the spindles on the porch railing and a different six-foot piece of fence.
“Later we found bear tracks in the red Virginia clay bordering the flower bed on the outside of the fence. It left its muddy red prints on the fence and the steps going to the side door of the house!
“What to do but repair the fence again, wash the feeders, and put them in the basement? I have decided to store the leftover bird feed in a large bag in the freezer for next winter.
“I will miss my “bird buddies” but I don’t what a 250+ pound bear in my house either. So, words to the wise, the same ones the ranger gave me last year, ‘Bring your feeders in now.'”
Back in Alaska, it is common even in suburban Anchorage neighborhoods to see a bear lumbering down a road. An Alaska-born, former Gazette editor spoke nonchalantly about bears and recess at schools. “We always had outdoor recess…except when a bear roamed the playground.”
Bears are about that is for sure!