Are Bears Dangerous When Trout Fishing?

If you fear wildlife, backcountry fly fishing might not be for you.

Most of the time bears like all wild animals want nothing to do with us. They prefer to avoid contact. When I am out fishing, I enjoy seeing wildlife and see it as more of a positive than a concern.

In most parts of North America bears are not a significant danger when trout fishing, and unless you are fishing the salmon spawns the chance of seeing one is low. More people die of bee stings every year than bear attacks.

Dealing with bears when fishing is the same as dealing with them when hiking. Make plenty of noise, and avoid sneaking up on them.

If you do see a bear, do not approach it. Do not try and fish around it. Give it as much space as possible.

In most circumstances, bears want nothing to do with us and will be long gone when they sense our presence.

Most bears want nothing to do with us

Bears, typically only attack humans under very few circumstances.

1#: They feel threatened, and we block their route of escape. If a bear can not easily avoid us, there is a chance they will charge right through us.

2# They feel we are threatening their cubs.

3# They are starving, and in desperate need for food. This is more likely to occur in the spring, shortly after leaving hibernation.

4# It is a moody juvenile.

Best to exercise extreme caution around bears with cubs.

How to identify an upset bear

– They maintain eye contact.

– The bear will turn sidewise and pace side to side.

– The bear will try to make itself look large by raising it’s hackles.

– It might stomp, huff, swing its head and shift its weight from paw to paw.

– Audible warnings can include a clicking/clanking sound. Sometimes, they will yawn or make a huffing sound.

A bear standing on its hind legs, is not necessarily a sign of aggression. They do that to get a better view and to sniff the air.

Are Bears Dangerous during the salmon runs?

Most bears, including grizzlies are too busy feasting on salmon to care about the presence of fishermen. When food is plentiful, it is very unlikely that a bear will pay much attention to fishermen. Just give them space, and avoid getting too close.

Be prepared to back away, and have bear spray easily accessible if one does decide to become too curious.

Sometimes, juvenile bears might be a bit more aggressive, especially if they have been forced out of the prime spots by more dominant adults. Such a juvenile might want to take its frustration out on a nearby angler.

Should bear spray be taken when trout fishing?

If fishing in bear country it is a good idea to bring some bear spray just in case. It is not much extra weight for the extra security it offers.

Make sure to check the expiry date every so often, because the cans do lose their pressure over time.

Should I bring a gun when trout fishing?

Bringing a firearm, such as a shotgun is normally not necessary, and they are very cumbersome to carry. I do know some anglers who choose to carry one on extended trips, but they usually plan on doing some hunting along with their fishing.

Any other dangerous animals?

I personally believe that feral and even domesticated animals are a much bigger danger than wild ones.

A cow protecting its newborn calf is much more likely to charge than a wild elk. While 99% of cattle are perfectly docile, some do have serious attitudes. Having worked with cattle, I once got a dead arm when a charging cow clipped my finger as I stepped out of the way. They are fast and powerful.

Elks that spend too much time around people can be little upstarts. When angry they might click and stump, but if you are bigger then they will rarely charge. Stags can be dangerous during the roar.

Elks in protected areas can be aggressive during the roar.

Suppose moose are similar and apparently they have bad eyesight. I do not have any experience with them. Like any large animal best not to block their escape route and give them space.

Mountain lions and cougars deserve respect. But, I doubt they will pounce out in the middle of a river. They like to sneak up and pounce from behind and hunt from above. I have never seen one. .

Wolf attacks are extremely rare, and almost never occur during the day.

Coyotes always seem shy, although they can be a bit more confident at night. Had one watch me while I was photographing stars one night. It was a bit creepy in the dark so I chased it away.

Most wild animals just want to escape

Snakes are probably a concern when walking through long grass or over broken rocks. Seen a few while hiking and they were either slithering to escape or too busy sunbathing to care.

Heard that Boars / Hogs can be aggressive. I have only ever seen them running for their lives.

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