As winter’s remains fade, giving way to the verdant colors of spring, brown bears – long tired of foraging on grass, last summer’s berries that survived under the cover of snow, remnants of winter kill, and any other form of nourishment their hibernation-withered frames can find – make their way to the rivers, awaiting that cerulean procession of sockeye, the lynchpin of their diet that will sustain them through winter. It is not until the sockeye have undergone a striking conversion, turning a brilliant red with a green head, and have paired up and spread out to shallower water to spawn, that they become easier targets for bears. While some bears snorkel the river, walking with their heads beneath the river’s surface, others prefer the blitzing approach where they charge into the spawning fish or jump from the bank in hopes of trapping a sockeye under their paws or catching one in their mouths.
Nathan Cornelius is a fishing guide from Oregon who is currently plying the waters of the Copper River (not the famous Copper River Salmon place) in Alaska. His guiding has also taken him to Chile (the writing of this bio was interrupted by the editor of this publication entertaining me with a story from Delhi (I use the word entertaining loosely)) where he hopes his ashes will be spread upon his demise, or, at the very least, fired from a cannon in the general direction of the southern hemisphere.