Typically our pursuit of Bute wildlife is a spontaneous encounter while cruising the 40 mile inlet. Ebbing and flooding tides create habitual spots for the Bute wildlife to feed. Low tide “bears” are a commonplace. The low tides also produce opportunities for guests to clam, prawn, oyster and crab.
A driving force in Bute Inlet is the ocean current that can reach 14 knots. The west entrance to Bute separating Stuart Island and the mainland is the Arran Rapids. With a short distance of only 400 yards the ocean seems as if a wild river in the “Arrans.” Boiling waters during peak tides push herring and pacific hake to the surface providing a bounty for the hundreds of local eagles. Daily eagle shows are very predictable when the tide hits its peak!
Wildlife Adventure Tours
From eagles to herons and bears to wolves, Bute Inlet has an extraordinary variety of wildlife that can be viewed undisturbed and up close. Far from the crowds, Bute Inlet wildlife hasn’t been spoiled by the commercial exploitation of Madison Avenue. The abundant available food sources in Bute keep the wildlife thriving. A food chain beginning from the ocean’s plankton into herring and then salmon moves upward to bears, eagles, wolves, and also humans. Even the dead, spawned out salmon provide food for animals, fish and the forests.
Bute Inlet is at the southern end of the “Great Bear Rain Forest.” This is home to healthy black and grizzly bear populations plus cougars, wolves, and deer living in this temperate rain forest. When spring begins the bears join the other animals and fish feeding on what’s available to them at the moment. For the bears it’s the shoreline at low tide which produces clams, crabs, seaweed and barnacles to tide them over until the berry bushes bloom in June. The earliest spawning salmon in the Bute tributaries arrive in June. Gradually the bear population shifts to the rivers to feed on the returning salmon, their mainstay diet til winter arrives.