Visiting requires a minimum stay of four days, but getting here is an easy, 40-minute floatplane ride from Kodiak; you then board a boat and cross Karluk Lake to the river.
This area was recently re-opened to the public, and restrictions are strong, with a four-day minimum stay and a 6-person limit. But the bear-viewing could be amazing: the 1.5 mile stretch of river connecting Karluk and O’Malley Lakes fills with sockeye salmon, attracting brown bears from all over. These bears are primarily solitary females and females with cubs; you may also see adolescents and boars.
The Viewing Situation
The area presents a unique opportunity: it was closed from 1994 to 2010, so you’ll be watching bears that were unaccustomed to humans for some time. You’ll be staying on an island in the middle of Karluk Lake, which is a short boat ride from the O’Malley River. After the sockeye run diminishes, the bears disperse to streams all around the lake, feeding on the carcasses of spawned-out salmon.
July 25 - Oct 30