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The Bears of Brooks Falls

Most Fishing & Lodging Packages includes a day at Katmai. The day is fully guided, complete with fishing and bear viewing on the famed Brooks River.

One of the major attractions at Katmai National Park is the world renown Brooks Fall. At Brooks, you have the opportunity to view Alaska Brown Bears feasting on Sockeye Salmon as they jump over waterfalls. At times, there are as many as 15 bears fishing the falls. They may be standing on top of the falls, catching the salmon as they attempt to jump over the waterfalls. Or, you may encounter them snorkeling, as they swim in the slow moving water with their heads below the surface, searching for salmon. The cute bear cubs are closely monitored by their mothers. From time to time, you'll see how protective the mothers can be, as they chase off 1,000 pound male bears. The cubs try to imitate their mothers, and as the summer progresses, their skill in catching salmon vastly improves. The National Park Service monitors Brooks Falls and has developed a low impact and creative design within the landscape for your safety.

When approaching Brooks Falls in the float plane, you will be awe struck by the scenery. As the plane begins to descend, you will receive a detailed overview of the area. Brooks lake empties into the Brooks River, which in turn flows into Naknek Lake. The float plane will land on Naknek Lake, taxiing to the shoreline.

While walking along the shoreline of Naknek Lake, you find floating rocks which are composed of pumice and organic compounds, created by the eruption of Mt.Katmai in 1912. After a quick walk , you will reach the gravel path entrance to Brooks Falls. At the entrance, you will receive a safety briefing from the National Park Service, and leave any food in a common cache. Continuing your easy walk along the gravel pathway, you can stand upon a viewing platform, placed 20' in the air, to obtain photographs and a great overview of the area. At Brooks, there are two viewing platforms at different locations. After taking in the view, you may want to walk down to the Brooks River to fish.

Every summer, Sockeye Salmon make their amazing migration. The Sockeye migration starts in the Pacific Ocean when they school up and head into Bristol Bay. From Bristol Bay, they enter the fresh water of the Naknek River and swim into Lake Naknek. After crossing the enormous lake, they enter the Brooks River. Four years later, after swimming thousands of miles, the Sockeye Salmon finally reach their place of birth. The small Brooks River connects Brooks Lake with Naknek Lake. Bears congregate on the Brooks River to replenish their fat reserves for a long winter of hibernation.

At Brooks River, you will have the opportunity to fish for Sockeye Salmon alongside the bears. The Brooks River is small in comparison to some of the larger river systems in our region, such as the Naknek. There are numerous small pools and wadeable sections. Due to the large number of Sockeye Salmon, there is a plentiful supply of Rainbow Trout as well. The Rainbows are feasting on the eggs produced by the spawning Sockeye. The majority of the Brooks River is restricted to fly fishing in order to protect the precious Rainbow Trout. However, don't be disappointed. A section of Brooks River is designated for spin fishing. With thousands of Sockeye Salmon swimming by, the fishing is fantastic.