It’s been a long standing fact that bears from around the world depend on calorie-rich fish as an important food source. In Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, those fish are trout, and more specifically, big cutthroat trout. Yellowstone Lake, the largest freshwater lake above 7,000 feet in North America, is full of these tasty bear treats. Huge grizzly bears and sometimes black bears will fish along the shore of the lake and in the lake’s many feeder streams where trout like to swim up for spawning.
Although bears kill hundreds of trout in the lakes and rivers of Yellowstone every spring, attacks on bears by trout are much less common. It was once thought that fishing was a high risk activity for grizzlies, but a new study shows this just isn’t true. A few bears in the ecosystem may lose their lives at the hands of trout each year, but the overall population is not threatened.
We were able to obtain an exclusive interview with one bear that was getting ready to take a “bear nap” after gorging himself on some tasty trout from the Yellowstone River.
“Yeah, there’s not much risk. The trout are already pretty occupied with whatever it is that they normally do, so it’s a joke how easy it is. Spring is definitely the best time of the year. People love to watch me catch fish, but the rangers do a great job of keeping them away. Sometimes I get a good laugh out of running after a tourist or two, but that is kinda frowned upon.”
Yellowstone’s bears are very active in the spring and early summer, and it is against park regulations to approach any closer than 100 yards of a bear. If the bear changes its behavior, you’re too close!