Whether you consider yourself someone who likes to fish or not, we can appreciate this talented pool of wildlife fishing experts. From bears to osprey, wildlife deploy many unique and fascinating fishing techniques. We’ve highlighted just a few animals that inspire appreciation around the craft of catching their next meal.
Remember, if you’re a human being, it’s important you follow state regulations and obtain a fishing license if you fish! Wildlife, you’re exempt.
1. Kodiak Brown Bear: Expert snorkelers
By “snorkeling”, Kodiak brown bears find fish under water and pin them down with their claws. They use a number of other techniques as well, such as diving, pirating, and even begging.
2. Atlantic Puffin: Can carry all the fish
Puffins are built for fishing. Even their beaks! They easily carry multiple fish because of their jaw structure and the built in serrated edges on their bill. In fact, puffins even have a “rosette”, (that yellow or orange fleshy skin by the bill) that allows them to open their beaks wider than a typical bird.
3. Northern Water Snake: Opportunistic
These stealthy fishers have been known to steal a human angler’s catch right off their lines! Sometimes they’ll just swim into a school of fish with their mouth open. Fishing level: Expert.
4. Green Heron: Bait experts
Herons are incredibly patient and will wait motionless for a long time before they catch a fish. Beyond their patience, green herons are known to use bait to lure in fish! They’ll use anything from earthworms and insects to crusts of bread and other objects to get the catch they want.
5. Black-crowned Night Heron: Avoids the crowds
Aptly named, the black-crowned night heron prefers the pre-dawn hours for fishing aka when fish are most active. This helps them avoid the crowds (other birds fishing).
6. Common Merganser: Great grip
Nice “sawbill” you got there! The common merganser was actually given this nickname due to the serrations in their bill; ideal for gripping on their slippery, slimy catches.
7. River Otter: Smells underwater
This fish thought camouflage alone would save it, but surprise! River otters can actually smell underwater!
7. White Tern: Hovers like a champ
Hover- then dive with a splash! Terns hover over fish and this allows them to determine what species they’re fishing. They feed mostly on smaller species; this one caught a puffer fish. No big deal.
8. California Sea Lion: Expansive palate
California sea lions aren’t picky eaters, making them good fishers for regulating invasive species like this common carp.
9. Osprey: Feet spikes
They don’t mess around. 98% of the osprey diet is fish. See how this osprey effortlessly carries its catch with one talon? Want to get on their coolness level? Try holding a freshly caught fish with one hand. Their feet actually have “spicules” that help them hold on to their catch.
This bobcat caught a shark. No big deal. While we don’t witness this kind of event very often, it’s just a reminder at how awesome wildlife are at fishing.
Inspired? Go fishing!
With more than 270 national wildlife refuges that have places for you to fish, there are no shortages of opportunities to channel these wild animals and embark on your own adventure. So what are you waiting for?
- Get your fishing license from your state agency.
- Learn some tips if you’re fishing for the first time.
- Check out this helpful guide to Fishing on National Wildlife Refuges.
- Find a great place to go fishing
By Danielle Brigida and Rebecca Fabbri, Social Strategy Team