Copper River Lodge Safety: Boats, Wading, and Bears

Safety Instructions

Boats and Wading

PFD’s are provided for you in each boat and we recommend that you wear them whenever the boat is moving. Always face forward and pay attention when the boat is underway. When the boat is being landed or docked, please stay seated until your guide instructs you to depart. When getting in or out of boats, remember to hold the gunnel for support and be sure the water you’re stepping into is shallow. When wading, we recommend that you never wade deeper than waist high. Remember that bottom conditions and current are variable. Always follow your guide’s instructions on where it’s safe to wade and always wear a wading belt.


Brown and grizzly bears are classified as the same species even though there are notable differences between them. "Brown bears" live along the southern coast where access to seasonal spawning salmon are abundant and the area has a rich array of vegetation. This combination allows them to grow larger and in higher densities than their "grizzly" cousin which inhabit the norther and interior parts of Alaska. Brown bears are usually larger than black bears with a noticeable, prominent  shoulder hump and "pumpkin" like head. They also have longer claws than the black bear. This is noticeable in foot prints.

Alaska Bear Guidelines

You will more than likely see brown bears while you are at the lodge. In reading these guidelines please understand that we have never had a bear incident during the life of the lodge, and you will always have an experienced guide at your side. If you are in bear country, your guide will carry bear deterrent devices such as bear spray. If you see or hear a bear, always stay alert to your guide and follow his instructions.

Always be “bear aware”. Watch ahead for bears or for tracks. Don’t surprise bears. Make plenty of noise when fishing. You will almost always be with a guide while you are walking along a river. If you see a bear that is far away or doesn’t see you...turn around and go back, or circle far around. Don’t disturb it. Alert your guide.

If you see a bear that is close or it does see you... STAY CALM. Attacks are rare. Bears may approach or stand on their hind legs to get a better look at you. These are curious, not aggressive, bears. BE HUMAN. Stand tall, wave your arms, and speak in a loud and low voice. DO NOT RUN! Stand your ground or back away slowly and diagonally. If the bear follows, STOP.

If a bear is charging... almost all charges are “bluff charges”. DO NOT RUN! Olympic sprinters cannot outrun a bear, and running may trigger an instinctive reaction to “chase”. Do not try to climb a tree unless it is literally right next to you and you can quickly get at least 30 feet up. STAND YOUR GROUND. Wave your arms and speak in a loud low voice. Many times charging bears have come within a few feet of a person and then veered off at the last second.

Emergency Contact Information

The telephone number at the lodge is 907.571.1464.
You can also call our office in Montana at 406.222.0624, or email