WATCH: Bear Gets Mistaken for Floating Log by Fishing Guide

by Lauren Boisvert

A fishing guide who was boating on Lake McClure in Mariposa County, California spotted a black bear swimming in the water, claiming they don’t usually get bears in the lake. Ryan Cook was on the water recently when he saw what he thought was a floating log in the lake. It turned out to be a big bear swimming along.

In Cook’s video, courtesy of Storyful (check it out here), the bear swims peacefully towards the shore, which is more like a craggy cliff face, in order to climb out and go about his business. “That’s a big bear,” Cook said in the video. “We have a bear in the water on Lake McClure. Look at this bear. I have never seen one up here that likes their fur in the water.”

According to Cook, he’s never seen one of these animals in the Sierra Nevada area voluntarily get in the water. In reality, black bears are extremely talented swimmers. There have been other reports, such as on Lake Tahoe, of bears enjoying the water in order to cool off from the massive heat waves. They even break into residents’ pools sometimes, even if the water is covered. So, bears do swim, and they’re good at it. But it’s possible this particular California resident just never saw one before.

California Man Finds Bear Swimming in Lake, Expresses Disbelief in Video

“Where are you going Yogi?” Cook calls to the bear. “Oh my goodness, they can move, too, look at that,” says Cook in disbelief. “I think it’s a big one, we’re going to see here in a minute when it gets out. I don’t want to get too close to it, don’t want to spook it too bad.” Cook was smart in keeping his boat relatively far away from the animal, and just using his camera to zoom in. It’s always best to give a bear a wide berth, even if it’s in the water.

“How cool is that?” Cook continues. “I thought it was a log in the water […] that is so cool.” The bear looks to be swimming against the lake’s current, paddling away in an attempt to get to shore. “It’s not that big,” Cook guesses. “It’s a good-sized one though.”

The bear finally launches itself out of the water, climbing nimbly up the rocky shore, and Cook exclaims, “Oh, that’s a big one! That’s a massive bear!” He continues to express how cool it is, which it really is, even if you’ve seen these animals a few times. They never fail to be an amazing experience. If you’re far enough away, of course. Safety first, after all. But, this one pays Cook and his boat no mind and just scrambles up the rocks and on to wherever he’s going.

The video ends with Cook’s disbelief and amazement, signing off with a, “That’s awesome.” We think so too. It’s not every day you get to see a bear in the middle of a lake, taking a dip to escape the heat.