If you’re planning an Alaskan fishing trip, you’re of course expecting to see fish, and hopefully a lot of them. But what other wildlife might you and your companions encounter? Compared with much of the rest of the country, Alaska is for the most part unaffected by humankind, which means that wildlife sightings are fairly common, and often just as majestic as you might imagine. Here are some animals you might encounter on your Alaskan fishing trip, and some pointers on how to stay safe in their presence.
- Birds: Alaska’s diverse habitat and abundance of wild land make it a home for an impressive variety of bird species. Almost 500 different types of birds live and breed in this state, making Alaska a destination for bird watchers just as it is for fishers. Compared to land and marine animals, birds don’t require much special preparation to ensure your safety. Just bring your binoculars and a guidebook if you’d like, and enjoy watching the sky while you wait to get a bite in the water.
- Bears: Alaska is home to both brown and black bears. If you spot one of these majestic creatures, they will likely be alone, unless you happen to see a protective mama bear with her tiny, blind cubs. Bears mostly live in the forest, and also frequent Alaska’s coast so that they can feast on fresh salmon. The most important things to remember when you encounter a bear are to give them plenty of space, not make any sudden movements that might startle them, and never feed them—not even some of your freshly caught fish! In the unlikely event of a bear attack, you should play dead if the bear is defensive (such as a mother bear protecting her cubs), or fight back if they appear to be seeking food.
- Moose: The largest moose in the world can be found in Alaska, but don’t let their size fool you—these creatures are capable of running up to 35 miles per hour, and can swim at six miles an hour for up to two hours. More than other wild creatures, moose are often known to wonder into urban areas, sometimes even blocking traffic. The largest danger a moose can pose is when you are in an automobile. If you’re on foot or fishing, they will likely leave you alone as long as you leave them be.
- Caribou and reindeer: You should be able to hear caribou and reindeer coming from a fair distance, as their loud clicking ankle tendons are hard to miss. These creatures are most commonly found in the northern forests, arctic tundra and mountain tundra of Alaska. You can spot a reindeer by their white hides and ear tags.
Other wildlife you may spot on your Alaskan fishing trip include whales, polar bears, mountain goats and wolves, among others. Whatever creatures you’re lucky enough to see, remember to remain calm, don’t attempt to get their attention, and appreciate the vast natural beauty around you.