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Time for a fishing lesson - with mother bears as the teachers

By 0 and 0 and 0
18 October 2012


Easy, kids! Bear cubs follow mother to the shore. Picture: Sergei Krasnoschekov

Once every year a strikingly beautiful Kuril Lake in Kamchatka - in the extreme east of Russia - turns into a favourite eatery for thousands of brown bears and their cubs. 

With rocky shore and underwater slopes, fed by numerous mountain streams, mixed with the waters of hot springs, Kuril is the second largest freshwater lake of Kamchatka. 

But it is surely not the beauty of the scenery that attracts Kamchatka  bears - in late summer and into the autumn, the lake becomes world's largest salmon spawning pool. This is when the bear families arrive - followed by some of the bravest  photographers who manage to capture unique moments of the cubs perfecting their fishing skills. 

Kamchatka brown bears

Kamchatka brown bears

Kamchatka brown bears

The Kamchatka brown bears are known to be the biggest of the Russian brown bears.  Pictures: Sergei Krasnoschekov

Fish is one of the main - and rare - sources of protein for the Kamchatka bears. In spring and early summer they live mainly on grass and roots and wait patiently for the salmon to arrive. 

This time of year is the perfect timing for the bears as it is not that energy consuming to fish, and it allows them to gain enough fat ahead of hibernation. 

Kamchatka brown bears

Kamchatka brown bears

Kamchatka brown bears

Kamchatka brown bears

The best time of the year - Kamchatka brown bears are pictured samlon fishing.  Pictures: Sergei Krasnoschekov

The Kamchatka bear is the biggest of the Russian brown bears.  

Its body length is more than two metres, and weight is about a quarter of a ton. According to some hunters in the autumn period the weight of a Kamchatka bear can go up to 700 kg. 

Despite its name, the Kamchatka brown bears are not only brown. Their colour varies from yellowish and sand tones to almost black. 

Kamchatka with its beautiful untouched nature, forests, volcano mountains and hot springs is not just one of the most beautiful spots of Russian Far East, but also an ideal habitat for the bears. In peace and quietness away from people's eyes they feel themselves the real owners of the land, walking the woods and hunting for salmon in rivers and lakes.

Sergei Krasnoschekov

Photographer: Sergei Krasnoschekov, aged 47.  

Sergei lives and works in the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, Kamchatka region in the Russian Far East. He travels around Russia, Africa and South East Asia. 

Sergei's favourite topics are wildlife, landscape and travel photography.

Comments (5)

@ Dirk: More is coming, stay tuned)
Kate, Russia
19/10/2012 00:54
I'd like to see more on fishing trips in Siberia (for humans, I mean). How to get there, and where's good to fish (without any help from these majestic bears)
Dirk, Portland
19/10/2012 00:47
Love to hear how you took those pics Sergei, looks like you got real close.
Konrad, Geneve
19/10/2012 00:27
@John Jameson: Sure, Sergei has a lot of beautiful pics of Kamchatka and other places on his website
Kate, Russia
19/10/2012 00:20
Great pictures Sergei, can we see more?
John Jameson, Wanganui
19/10/2012 00:15

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