Footage of mountain lions hunting is rare, but video of one of the large cats going after fish is even rarer still. According to the Missoulian, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) Bear Manager Jamie Jonkel had been hoping to see a few bears come across a spawning trout stream when a cougar popped up on the video instead.
“I’ve never heard of a mountain lion fishing,” Jonkel said. “There are fishing cats in South America, they will dive in and grab fish out of the water. And it may be pretty common in places like Alaska and Vancouver. But I did a quick search, and couldn’t find anything on mountain lions fishing around here. This may be the only time in Montana that I know of where it’s been documented.”
A predator of opportunity, mountain lions will eat just about anything slower than they are. Elk, deer, and sometimes even bighorn sheep comprise a typical cougar’s diet, along with the usual compliment of the small mammals such as mice and hares. Fish are not usually associated with mountain lions, although they can develop a taste for them if hungry enough.
The video was recorded in cooperation with private landowners in the Blackfoot Valley. It records, as far as the FWP knows, the first incident of a mountain lion fishing in Montana.
Image courtesy screenshot of video by the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Region 2