Fishing Wolves
YouTube: Voyageurs Wolf Project

Wolves Return to Stream Again and Again Showing Off Their Fishing Skills

Most people think of wolves as apex predators that exclusively feed on things like deer, elk, and moose. But it turns out their diet is much more varied than that. Researchers with the Voyageurs Wolf Project in Minnesota have been monitoring the packs there for years now, and they have uncovered some fascinating things about the behavior of wolves. One notable aspect is their fishing ability. Scientists have always known wolves take part in fishing to some degree. However, most thought it was not a common behavior. That was until they started placing more trail cameras in the woods near streams and a collar camera on a particular wolf. What the cameras revealed was that wolves would go through a brief flurry of fishing activity almost every spring.

The video below shows one wolf wading into the shallow water at night. Most of the fish he grabs are off camera, but you can clearly see how he does it in other shots. The wolf tries to get the fish into the shallows where it can make a move and grab it for a quick meal. In the collar footage, it's revealed the wolves will return to the same stream again and again to catch and eat fish. It's all a fascinating look at the inside world of wolves.

According to the video's description, these videos are some of the only ones ever taken to document this behavior in wolves. Since they first started noticing it back in 2017, the researchers have determined many wolves only fish for two to three weeks maximum each spring. It appears the behavior coincides with spring spawning activity for the fish, which makes sense because it causes the fish to be more vulnerable to predators.

"It has been well known for some time that wolves in coastal areas of British Columbia and Alaska would catch spawning salmon during big salmon runs," the description notes. "But feasting on a large salmon run is quite different than catching spawning freshwater fish in small Minnesota creeks and rivers!"

Footage from this research project has been quite fascinating to see. The Voyageurs Wolf Project has continually documented behaviors in wolves that have rarely been seen by humans. It's helping scientists shed new lights on the mysterious lives of these predators.

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