Where Is The Best Place To See Bears Catching Salmon In Alaska?

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PRIVATE & SMALL GROUP TOURS TO THE WORLD'S BEST DESTINATIONS

Three Amazing Alaskan Vacations To Choose From!

Summer Trips To Alaska
Grizzlies & Glaciers Tour

Winter Trips To Alaska
See The Northern Lights

Summer Trips To Alaska
Denali Discovery Adventure

Follow The Fish For A Bear Viewing Adventure!

Ah, summer in Alaska. A magical time on the Last Frontier, when the wildlife emerges from its winter hibernation to delight the state’s inhabitants and visitors alike. One of the most iconic species of animals to emerge from its winter den is the grizzly bear, which takes advantage of Alaska’s salmon runs to feed its young and prepare for the next cold season. Many visitors are curious where to see salmon run in Alaska, but the answer is not that simple! It depends on the type of salmon in a specific area, the river the fish are using to reach their spawning grounds, and the time of year. Keep reading to learn more about Grizzly bear viewing and Alaska salmon runs!

Discover A Feeding Frenzy Of Bears At Brooks Falls

For many people, a bear viewing tour tops the list of activities they want to experience while in Alaska. Since peak tourist season falls during the tourist months, many visitors will be able to watch bears showing off their fishing prowess during the salmon runs. The spectacle of bears diving into streams and rivers to catch fish is a quintessential Alaska experience that one can never forget! But where is the best place to see bears catching salmon in Alaska? The place that tops the list is Katmai National Park and Preserve!

  • Brooks Falls – Bears can be seen fishing at Brooks Falls and in the lower Brooks River throughout the month of July! Brooks Falls is the most popular destination to view Alaskan brown bears in their natural habitat. As many as 50 bears can be seen fishing along the river during the salmon season and visitors can watch the bear’s antics from viewing platforms that are placed strategically along the river.
  • Geographic Harbor – this area, which is formed by two large bays that extend three miles off Amalik Bay in Katmai National Park and Preserve, is a popular location for grizzly bears during the month of August. As the pink salmon continue their journey upstream to spawn, the bears follow them to feed in the shallow tidal estuaries of the harbor. Huge, solitary males and females with one or two spring or yearling cubs prowl the banks and splash through crystal-clear streams, ready to pounce on the nutritious treat. This makes Geographic Harbor one of the best places to see where salmon run in Alaska.
  • McNeil River Falls – located north of Katmai National Park and Preserve on the Alaska Peninsula, the McNeil River State Game Sanctuary protects the world’s largest concentration of brown bears. A permit is required to view the bears at McNeil River, and demand for them is so high that the Alaska Department of Fish and Game runs an annual lottery to name the few lucky visitors! The state agency allows 10 visitors per day for a four-day period between June 7 and August 25 to go grizzly bear viewing and Alaska salmon watching in Alaska.

Epic Salmon Runs In Anchorage

Anchorage is Alaska’s largest city. It is located in the south-central part of the state on Cook Inlet. While it is famous for its cultural sites and wilderness areas, it is also famous for its fish! Huge salmon runs return to Anchorage area rivers and streams each summer. Visitors can view fie species of Alaska salmon during the runs: king (or chinook), red (sockeye), pink (humpy), silver (coho), and chum (aka “dog”).

The salmon in Anchorage are so plentiful that they are literally steps from the city! The annual king salmon derby is a wonderful opportunity for accessible fishing, and viewing platforms at key sites give onlookers the best view of salmon on their trip upstream during the runs. Of course, this fishy frenzy attracts bears who have their own agenda for the salmon. Keep reading for more information on the three best places to see bears catching salmon in Alaska – specifically Anchorage!

  • Ship Creek – running through the heart of downtown Anchorage, Ship Creek flows from the Chugach Mountains into Cook Inlet and is the world’s only king salmon fishery. There are several bridges and viewing platforms that allow visitors to watch the salmon battle their way upstream to spawn. Because of its central location, Ship Creek is not a good place to see bears catching salmon, but it does answer the question “where to see salmon run in Alaska.”
  • Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge at Potter Marsh – located 20 minutes from downtown Anchorage along the Seward Highway, Potter Marsh is one of the most accessible wildlife viewing areas in Alaska! Visitors can find fish in clear pools right off of the boardwalk. If you visit in mid-June, be sure to make your way to Rabbit Creek, where you will see giant Chinooks dominate the waterways to the dismay of smaller fish.
  • Indian Creek along the Turnagain Arm – if you drive past Potter Marsh you’ll come to Indian Creek. Each July and August, thousands of pink salmon converge at this shallow, easy-flowing stream just off the highway. The gentle banks and crystal clear water make this one of the safest places to view spawning salmon for visitors. But be warned – the easy access also attracts bears, which makes Indian Creek a great place for grizzly bear viewing and Alaska salmon watching for visitors!

Guaranteed Viewing During The Salmon Runs

It’s pretty easy to spot the salmon during the annual salmon runs – these intrepid fish flood the rivers and streams of Alaska in a desperate attempt to get back to their spawning grounds. But if you are not comfortable venturing outside of Anchorage to follow the fish, don’t despair! One of the best places to see salmon in Alaska is the William Jack Hernandez Fish Hatchery, just 10 minutes from downtown Anchorage. Visitors can take a self-guided tour inside the state fish hatchery on the banks of Ship Creek. The museum-quality observation deck offers a view of this complex process, which produces up to six million sports fish each year.

Whether you want to know where to see salmon run in Alaska or are planning a trip around grizzly bear viewing and Alaska salmon runs, there is no shortage of opportunities in the great state of Alaska! There are so many places where visitors can see bears fishing for salmon that it is difficult to name just one as the best place to see bears catching salmon in Alaska. But if you have time, visit at least one of the places mentioned above. We guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Download all three Alaska tour brochures for tour dates and pricing.