Fishing Bear Camp
Photograph brown bears fishing red salmon
- Best location to see and photograph brown bears fishing red salmon
- Watch brown bears dive for salmon right in front of you
- See up to 40 bears each day
- Private camp to maximize time with bears
- 5 days, 4 full days of photography
Our Private Bear Camp photo tour is my favorite tour of the year. Imagine camping in one of the most beautiful destinations on earth, with spawning red salmon, glaciers, and dozens of brown bears. Spend sunrise to sunset in the field to capture all the amazing NatGeo moments that will unfold right in front of you. It’s a tour that will transform you and forever change your relationship with bears.
We take care of everything. With 2 seasoned bear guides and an electric fence around our campsite, we put your safety first in everything that we do. With our expert bear knowledge, we will put you in the best position to take the most amazing photos. From the golden hours to everything in between, you will experience these magnificent brown bears like few others. It’s like being invited to the greatest party on earth. Come with us to Alaska and see for yourself how amazing bears can be!
Tour Highlights: Brown bears fishing right in front of you
* August 8-12 (full)
* August 12-15 (space available)
* August 8-12 (space available)
* August 12-15 (space available)
Group Size: 7
2024 Price: $4,895 USD
2025 Price: Contact
Price includes: Floatplane, meals, guiding, and accommodation
Location: Katmai, Alaska
Fitness Level: Moderate
WATCH OUR ALASKA BEAR VIDEO
* Our fishing bear camp is one of the 3 locations featured in this video
As part of the is tour, you will be making a contribution to the Katmai Conservancy, which supports the preservation of Katmai National Park and Preserve, its unique ecosystems, scenic character, and associated natural and cultural resources by promoting greater public interest, appreciation, and support through education, interpretation, and research.
THE LARGEST BROWN BEARS
When you come on this tour, two things will happen. First, you perception of bears will change forever. Second, all other bear photography opportunities will not seem the same. The close access we are afforded in this location opens the door to near-limitless compositions. Tight portraits, environmental shots, fishing behavior, amazing light, mother and cubs, big dominant males, play fighting, it’s all possible.
August is the best time to visit because it coincides with the annual sockeye salmon run, where the creeks glow bright red from the schools of salmon. At this time, the bears will eat upwards up 20 salmon each day to put on as many calories as possible before the harsh winter months.
The bears are acclimated to humans from decades of benign interactions. In this environment, we give the bears right of passage and we are rewarded by being accepted as an observer into their amazing world.
Our typical day starts early with the sunrise to take advantage of the golden light opportunities. After a quick coffee and breakfast, we will head out for the day to see what amazing moments are in store.
We have the flexibility to structure our day as we wish. Depending on the weather, we may be out all day until sunset, or come back to camp in between. This schedule ensures we are maximizing our time in the field. The bears can be found all over, from fishing for salmon on the creek to traveling across the tundra. And to see it all, we must walk, typically 4-6 miles per day over fairly flat terrain.
Since we will be on foot in the wilderness, we must prepare for the elements, including wet conditions. Rain gear and rain coverings for your camera equipment are a must. In addition, you must wear chest waders, which will make the whole experience so much easier and enjoyable.
We want help you to become a better photographer. Before the tour, we will have multiple one-on-one sessions with you to understand your shooting style, discuss topics of interest (such as field techniques, composition, post-processing), and provide guidance to help you grow as a photographer and storyteller.
During the tour, we will always put you in the best position to take the best photos. With our experience and knowledge of bear behavior, light, and composition you will elevate your photography to the next level.
After the tour, there will be more one-on-one sessions to help you choose and edit your favorite images from the tour, and discuss other topics of interest. We will also organize a Zoom group event so each of us can present our favorite images and share stories.
Our policy is simple: ask us anything at anytime about gear, technique, strategy, composition, post-processing and beyond. We are here to help you!
MEET YOUR GUIDES
As a wildlife photographer, traveler, and former World Bank economist, Zac brings a different perspective to wildlife conservation. He founded the Wildlife Collective to help others become better wildlife photographers and to use their voice for conservation. With leadership roles in several conservation organizations, Zac knows first hand that working together with like-minded individuals can make a difference. A certified guide and bear lover, Zac hopes to entertain you with stories from the wild, inspire you to get involved in conservation, and to become the best wildlife photographer you can be.
I spend as much time as possible in Katmai National Park, guiding bear tours for the great coastal brown bears and also with the great Kodiak brown bears of Kodiak Island. I spend most of my winters home in Montana, traveling all over the state as well as the Western states in pursuit of wildlife, landscape, astro, and aurora opportunities. Working full time, guiding, shooting, and editing leaves little time for sleep but fuels my drive to work to bring you the best of what I see and dream about.
The tour departs from King Salmon, Alaska, United States. If you need any help booking your flight, please let us know.
Arrive in King Salmon
Arrive in King Salmon where you will check into your cabin and prepare for the days ahead.
Private Bear Camp
We will board our morning float plane and land after a scenic 1 hour flight at our campsite. Each of the next 4 days will be dedicated to spending as much time with the bears as possible.
We will have one last morning to spend with the bears. Around lunch time, our float plane will arrive to take us back to King Salmon, where we will say our goodbyes.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What to expact about the camping situation
Everything will be set up for you when you land. The camp will include a double electric bear fence for peace of mind with a back-up solar charger as well. Inside the bear fence will be your home for your trip, and everything will be done to make it as comfortable as possible. There will be heavy duty 3 person tents with comfortable sleeping pads and sleeping bags, a small tent heater if needed, as well as solar charging stations.
A rinse/bathroom tent with biodegradable soap will also be provided for a quick rinse when desired. Please note we are required to remove our human waste, thus requiring us to use Wag Bags that must be taken out with us, but you will have some privacy in the bathroom shelter. We highly recommend bringing personal body wipes such as Pure Active or like brands that are biodegrade even though we will pack them out.
How many brown bears will I see?
Wildlife is unpredictable, BUT this location is reliable for seeing brown bears in close proximity. At this time of year, we would expect to see 20-40 different bears every day, inlcuding lots of cubs. Of course, volume does not equate to great photography opportunities. And we are lucky because in this location we can usually spend time with individual bears and get to know their personalities.
What other wildlife can we see?
We will definitely see salmon, lots of salmon! We are also likely to see ptarmigans, mergansers, and too many seagulls that will constantly photobomb your shots.
How wet will it be?
Alaska summers are known for rain. It could rain most of the tour or for only a day or two. Either way, assume that there will be rain and be prepared for it!
What focal range do you recommend?
For this location, every focal range is a great focal range. It depends on your shooting style. Most of my shots were taken with a 70-200mm. But I also used my wide angle and super telephoto at lot too. It’s best to have a variety of focal lengths at your disposal so you are ready for all scenarios!
Can I bring a tripod?
Absolutely. You will just need to carry it with you 🙂
What's the food situation?
We Heather’s Choice for our main meals and also eat lots of snacks. You are also welcome to bring your own snacks. All food is stored outside our tents in bear proof canisters.
What's the cell coverage like?
None. But we will have Garmin inReach’s to communicate via satellite with the outside world.
Send us an email and we’ll be happy to arrange a time to chat through everything with you and answer any questions you may have.
• All guiding
• Photography instruction
• Accommodation / Meals
• Flights from King Salmon
WHAT’s NOT INCLUDED?
• Insurance (required)
JOIN US FOR A TRIP OF A LIFETIME!
Why Our Photo Tours Are Different
The essence of life lies in its experiences, and it is our unwavering mission to gift you the very best of them. We strive to craft our tours with care and authenticity, making each adventure a vibrant chapter in the story of your life.
All of our tours have a conservation focus. We will learn about the challenges facing our primary subject and ongoing conservation work. Plus, every tour makes a donation to a conservation partner.
We take you to the world’s most amazing wilderness destinations, carefully selected for their unparalleled beauty and chosen based on our commitment to providing guests with the very best wildlife experiences.
We welcome all levels of photography and provide optional photography sessions before, during, and after the tour. With our hands on learning, you are going to leave our tour as a better photographer. Ask us anything at anytime!
We believe that small groups give the best wildlife expereinces. We do not exceed 6 clients per guide, and in most tours, the ratio will be even smaller. This ensures that you get the personalized attention that you deserve.
We work with the world’s best wildlife guides, who also happen to be our good friends. They are experienced, keep us safe, and put us in the best possible position to have the best wildlife experience.