One of the hidden benefits of being a fishing guide is the opportunity to witness cool moments in nature. Wildlife photography is a side hobby of mine, and for years I have been hoping to capture a good photograph a river otter.
A lot of times you see otters on TV and they appear to be social, gregarious animals that are friendly and curious. On the contrary, our local river otters are reclusive. Though they are always present, I only see them a few times of the year if I am lucky. Not only are they reclusive, but they are fast. They are as much land animals as water animals. Often when I see them they are running off onto dry land after catching a juicy trout.
Recently, I saw such an otter running down the bank. I had my camera handy and snapped a couple shots as the otter galloped by.
This was a typical otter encounter, and soon the otter disappeared into the brush. They are extremely fast!
I took the boat upriver and started to wade and spey cast, hoping for an early October steelhead. As I waded down the run, I heard a strange crackling noise. I looked upriver into some tangled brush to see the otter. He was crunching on a salmon carcass.
I was amazed to see the brutal efficiency of the animal. Otters are fierce animals. The otter had bright white teeth, and fed undisturbed for about ten minutes. I was able to get fairly close but did not want to ruin the animal’s dinner.
A lot of the wildlife that I see on the river is easily overlooked while fishing. It is often only when you look at the small details that some of the coolest things you can see on the river appear. Soon after they appear, they are gone.
Thanks for looking!