Tag Archives: salmon

Otis retakes Chunky Crown

Otis enjoying a salmon meal

A little bit of controversy this year for Fat Bear Week. Otis beat out Walker for the fattest bear of Brooks Falls. This may have been a bit of a popularity contest in 2021, with Team Otis coming out in droves to vote for the fan favorite. With that said, it is hard to dismiss the amount of weight that Otis put on in just a few short months. It was a lot of poundage, especially considering that Otis showed up at the river later than usual this summer, and that he is now missing two canine teeth, and many of his teeth are worn down.

Congrats to the now 4-Time Champ, and best wishes in the off season.


Battle of the Bruins

Fat Bear Week Title Match:

Bear 480, more widely known as Otis

Otis is no newcomer to Fat Bear Week. A three time winner of the championship, Otis was the inaugural winner back in 2014. He also took the title in 2016 & 2017. First identified at Brooks Falls in 2001, he is one of the older bears in Katmai. A patient fisher, Otis rarely chases salmon, and has one of the higher catch rates at Brooks Falls. One of Katmai’s all-time fan favorites, the aging bruin once again appears in the finals.

Walker, or Bear 151

Walker first showed up at Brooks Falls in 2009 as a two year old. Once known as a tolerant, playful bear, Walker has become a lot less tolerant as he has aged. As he has grown into a larger, dominate male, Walker has realized he can throw his weight around to gain prime fishing spots. Estimated to have weighed in at 1000 pounds last autumn, Walker looks to be even bigger in 2021.

Voting for the title round takes place today. Polls close at 5pm ADT.

https://explore.org/fat-bear-week?fbclid=IwAR2bAe6uPjVl6RnBELlWRCMUfMhP8O5E8tg0lUNGuWK-Zwm-1YG5Wgy0L34

Images and descriptions courtesy of Katmai National Park and explore.org


Bear “Bracketology”

“Fat Bear Week” Bracket

We have some big names going belly to belly right out of the gate for Fat Bear Week. Holly & Grazer face off, and Popeye takes on Walker on Day One. Day Two has 402, and perennial fan favorite Otis going up against each other.

Bear 503, 747 “Wide Body”, Chunk and 132 all get first round byes.

Voting can be done at:

https://explore.org/fat-bear-week?fbclid=IwAR39LgRuTz4xbb2Hrtb09HZ50t2BfLLOVUBXNSIuKUngJkZIkf4cJtDYID0


Cub Growth

Bear #132

Bear 132 is a spring cub. 132 is one of two surviving cubs from a litter of three. It put on a lot of weight, and a lot of hair. In the September photo, 132 weighs an estimated sixty pounds.

Bear #128

Bear 128 is a yearling, and the daughter of fan favorite Grazer. Grazer is a bold salmon catcher, and 128 is following that lead. By the end of this summer, 128 was catching her own leaping salmon. Park staff have not seen a yearling regularly catch salmon from the lip of Brooks Falls. A future Fat Bear Champion in the making?

Photo credit: Katmai National Park


Fat Bear Week Expands

Katmai National Park and Explore.org have added Fat Bear Junior to the madness of Fat Bear Week. Head over to the official site to vote for your favorite chubby cubby. The link is below:

https://explore.org/fat-bear-week?fbclid=IwAR3Km3XVBX4_MT2zuOsmL7L5MIUfRoZ0F8KnX33j_XmXKOUEkfH6ZRcUQ70


Some summer numbers

Map credit: ACCAP/UAF/NOAA

Wildfires within Alaska burned less than half the usual acreage in 2020, which is not really a surprise with an unusually wet summer.

Fairbanks had its 12th warmest and 20th wettest summer in the past 90 years.

Anchorage saw its 23rd warmest and 28th wettest in the past 70 years.

Juneau had its 10th warmest and 15th wettest in the past 81 years.

The western coast of Alaska was just plain wet.

Bristol Bay had some very rough seas during the fishing season, but that didn’t keep them from setting a record year for sockeye salmon.

The Yukon River drainage had no salmon in 2020. No chums. No kings. Nada. The entire fishery was closed.

One bright spot was the amount of sea ice in the Chukchi Sea in August. It was the most we have seen in 15 years.

Denali National Park has already seen 6″ of the white stuff.

Fairbanks has already seen frost.


Alaska Wild Salmon Day

It’s Alaska Wild Salmon Day !! Grill up a fillet, get out after some coho or sockeye and enjoy the species that powers Alaska.


Salmonfest

Salmonfest is back for 2021

After a year hiatus, Salmonfest is back this weekend in Ninilchik. Three days, 65 acts on four stages. It’s quite the event, and a true celebration of all things salmon.


Record Sockeye

The F/V Cutting Edge, loaded with sockeye; Photo credit: KTOO

I spoke with someone from Dillingham yesterday. The salmon run was winding down, fishermen were leaving town, but he described the salmon season as “fast & furious”.

It must have been exactly that. The one salmon bright spot across the state has been Bristol Bay this summer. The salmon run was an all time record for The Bay with over 63.2 million sockeyes returning. It is the fourth time since 1952 that the return has hit the 60 million mark.

The Nushagak also set a record for escapement, with 9.7 million sockeyes swimming upriver. That district had their second best run with 27.2 million sockeyes.

That’s a lot of Red.


Some good salmon news

The Nushagak River Watershed

Much of Alaska is seeing diminished returns of salmon this summer. One bright spot is Bristol Bay, and in particular, the Nushagak River. Bristol Bay is the place to be for salmon, and it is really hot in 2021. The Nushagak saw a record number of sockeyes caught last week, with more than 1,820,000 and 1,770,000 fish landed on consecutive days. That’s seeing a lot of red.

The only way to fly (in)