Each July Silver and King salmon return from the ocean by way of Brooks Lake and swim up the Brooks River to Naknek Lake. Brooks Falls is just one obstacle facing these salmon. Not only must the fish leap high enough to reach the top of the falls, they must also avoid the Grizzly bears that try to catch them below, at and above the falls. Dozens of Alaskan brown bears are found in the Brooks River area in July and many are often seen at the falls or in the river below the falls each day. When the salmon run has ended, usually by late July, the bears disperse, only to gather along Brooks River again in September as the dying salmon, too weak to swim, float back down the river after having spawned out in Naknek Lake.
A brown bear eats a salmon it has caught in the Brooks River. Katmai National Park, Alaska, USA