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Steelhead Camp

Pull your waders off and prop your feet up by the fire. Steelhead Camp is a collection of adventures from across the Pacific Northwest and Canada. Steelhead anglers are a special kind of crazy, but you already knew that.

Skeena Bear

Joel La Follette - Saturday, November 07, 2009

The bear awoke from a short nap, the sun filling his eyes and warming him. He was hungry but not as hungry as he had been. The small salmon had returned and he had been there to greet them. He had eaten his fill and now rested in the wood near the small stream that fed into the big river. Soon the big salmon would come and again he would eat. He hoped it would be soon as winter was on the wind and snow would soon cover the ground. He wished to be sleeping those cold winter days away in his den up the hill from the river, far from the sounds of man. He had shared the river with man and he did not trust them. He did not like the noise they made. He did not like their smell.

He rolled onto his feet and walked to the edge of the high bank overlooking the big river. Man, there in his river. He carefully walked down a fallen log to where the river had been but all that was left was a small puddle and a few dead fish. The ravens were fighting over the remains but the bear was not interested. The river now ran low and much of his fishing grounds were nothing but stones. Where the river was, there was man. What was he doing in the river? The bear moved slowly so that he would not be seen. 

Back up the log and onto the high bank the bear went. He found a well hidden sunny spot and sat down against a tree to watched the man. Overhead an eagle called and an Osprey answered. The bear could see the Osprey high over the river just upstream from the man. Suddenly the bird dropped from the sky crashing into the water. The bear watched  to see what he had caught but the Osprey flapped its wings unable to gain flight. Drifting toward the man the bird was trapped to the river by the weight of a fish too large to lift. Finally after several failed attempts the bird released its catch and regained the air. Moments later another dive with better results. The Osprey flew off with a smaller fish leaving the bear to watch the man.

What was he doing? The man waded to the shore and walked to where the Osprey had lost its big fish. The bear could see the man bend over to look at something in the water. What was he doing?

The man stood and started to walk toward where the bear was sitting. In his hands he carried a salmon with blood running out of the talon marks in its’ back. The bear did not move. He was well hidden on the high bank and was sure the man could not see him. Still the man walked closer. 

At the base of the fallen log the man lay the fish then walked back to the river. The bear watched as the man waded into the river again. Overhead an eagle called and the Osprey answered. The ravens were fighting over old fish as the bear took the salmon back up the high bank to his sunny spot near the tree. He did not trust the ravens, and he did not like the way they smelled. 

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