Breathtaking Wildlife on the Nushagak River
We’re in the middle of the silver salmon and rainbow trout season here on the Nushagak River in beautiful southwestern Alaska. The spawning silvers are as feisty as ever, and the colorful rainbows are growing by the hour as they feed on salmon roe. Fish the Nush has some beautiful weather headed our way this fall with higher than average temperatures, according to the NOAA. Autumn may be the best time of the year to hook massive silvers and beautiful rainbows, but it’s also a prime season to spot majestic local fauna. There are nine animals that our fishing guides and visiting anglers often cross paths with on the Nushagak River.
As the largest member of the deer family, moose are easy to spot when they’re near. Our Nushagak River fishing expeditions see moose on the river’s edge more often than not. These neighborly animals often cross our property on the way to the river. Moose are perfectly harmless as they mainly eat twigs, leaves, and bark; but moose may charge humans, so it’s best to give them plenty of room, especially mothers near their young.
North American brown bears frequent the Nushagak River during salmon runs to reach peak body mass before the long winter hibernation. The females usually stay close to their home range, so our guides and guests often spot adult males. Generally, the brown bears in this region are well fed, and most will not attack unless provoked; however, several tent camps were visited by brown bears this summer.
As of 2013, Alaska had only 31 herds of caribou, accumulating a population of approximately 760,000. Southwestern Alaska is home to a thriving caribou population as these 400-pound animals roam the open tundra and the high mountains to steer clear of predators. During the winter months; however, the caribou swarm in the surrounding forestry.
The gray wolf is the largest dog-like mammal in the world. These predators are adaptable as they can make their home seemingly anywhere in the wilderness. They feed on caribou, moose carcasses, rabbits, birds, rodents, fish, and berries. Gray wolves are extraordinarily territorial and move in packs of six to eight. Their territories range from 290 to 537 square miles. Wolves are commonly strategically hunted in southwestern Alaska to control the population.
Half of North America’s bald eagle population lives in Alaska. Many waterways, including the Nushagak River, are swarming with these majestic birds. Their nests are often within one mile of large bodies of water, and the Nush is no different. Much like Alaskan brown bears, bald eagles feast during fish runs. Occasionally one of these birds of prey will swoop down and capture a small mammal.
Other Local Animals
Golden eagles, red foxes, porcupines, and wolverines also make their home near our Nushagak River lodge. These four animals are much more difficult to spot because they’re smaller and easily frightened. While North American porcupines aren’t strictly nocturnal, they’re difficult to locate because they blend into the bush. Adorable red foxes have binocular vision, so they’re able to keep their distance from predators and humans. Wolverines are small but muscular – they can kill predators three times their size. These exotic animals are mostly indifferent toward humans.
Fishing on the Nushagak River
It’s never too early to book a 2019 fishing expedition at Fish the Nush. The Nushagak River is home to the largest king salmon run in the world. Dial 1-877-876-NUSH (6874) or visit FishTheNush.com to learn more about our five-day fishing packages complete with delicious seafood dinners, cozy lodging, and professional fishing guides.