The Bears of Spring, Yellowstone

I saw more bears this spring in Yellowstone than all of last summer. This was due in part to a mild winter, which led to fewer carcasses in the interior. With fewer carcasses, more bears were foraging for roots along the roadside, and in an encouraging sign, more bears were fishing again.

The cutthroat trout population had been encroached upon by lake trout, an invasive species. The cutthroat lives near the surface of the lake, while the lake trout lives in deep waters. The lake trout preys upon the cutthroat and had affected its numbers. We need the cutthroat for bears, eagles, ospreys and other predators. They are only accessible when they are near the surface. Also, the cutthroat spawn in Little Thumb Creek, which feeds Lake Yellowstone. This spring, in a sign of renewed behavior, both grizzly bears and black bears were alternately fishing for cutthroat in the creek. I was able to witness this behavior.


Grizzly in the rain


A Cinnamon Black Bear fishes in Little Thumb Creek


Grizzly Bear searching for fish


A Grizzly Bear catches a cutthroat trout


A Black Bear fishes at dusk


A Grizzly Bear searches for fish near the shores of Lake Yellowstone


10 thoughts on “The Bears of Spring, Yellowstone

  1. Good to hear the news about the bears and the cutthroats. A friend of mine does a lot of wildlife photography in in the BC area and he always photographs the bears from the boat. Says it makes them feel safe because of the water separation and they don’t run off. Don’t know if you’ve ever tried it but I thought I’d share the tip.

  2. Pingback: The Bears of Spring, Yellowstone — nomadruss in words and photos – Welcome to the World of Ekasringa Avatar!

  3. Russ I love these bear photos! Must have been an adventure to get them. Thanks for sharing the importance of cutthroat trout in the food chain.

    • Thanks Linda Sue, for a couple of weeks the cutthroat were spawning and the bears did come. When my day started late I’d go out early in the morning. Those days were a highlight of my time in Yellowstone this season.

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