Juneau, Alaska

Everything You Need to Know about the Bubble-Net Phenomenon October 17, 2018

Juneau, Juneau
Everything You Need to Know about the Bubble-Net Phenomenon, Juneau, Alaska

Bubble-netting is an intriguing form of feeding some humpback whales practice in southeast Alaska. These local waters are packed with small fish that provide them with the nutrients and sustenance they need. Since bubble-netting is a behavior specific to a very small group of whales, it’s not always easy to see. In fact, fishing enthusiasts often time their visits and whale watching tours as closely as possible to bubble-netting season in order to increase their viewing chances. Here’s what you need to know about catching the event in action yourself.

A Guide to Bubble-Netting

Juneau, AK whale watchingWhat Exactly Is Bubble-Netting?

When some humpback whales gather with one another, they essentially go in search of their nourishment in a large group formation. During bubble-net feeding times, they swim together and form a circle that rapidly develops into a spiral. While swimming, they blow bubbles underneath the fish they plan to eat. The bubbles create a powerful layer that essentially traps the fish, thus allowing the whales to enjoy their meal. 

Are There Any Signs It Will Happen?

If you’re going whale watching with the specific intention of catching them during bubble-net feeding, keep a watch for rings of bubbles that develop on the water’s surface. You might also notice many birds soaring directly above the spot, hoping to catch fish that the whales might miss.

When Is the Best Time of Year to Witness It?

The periods during which you’ll spot bubble-net feeding are rare. That’s because just a few humpback whales ever bubble feed at all, and when they do, it’s only during a short time in the summer. If you’re booking a whale watching tour, do your best to schedule it during July or August. Since humpback whales tend to remain solitary most of the time, it often comes down to sheer luck. Some whale watching charter companies experience periods of complete dormancy before they notice bubble netting that occurs over a period of days.


If you’re intrigued by the idea of whale watching, you’ll love what Big Jim’s Charters has to offer. The leading source for fishing and whale charters in all of Juneau, AK, the service provides fantastic tours spanning several hours during summer. You’ll witness the majestic beauty of humpback whales in their habitat, as well as spot sea lions and bald eagles. It’s a sight to behold, so book your trip in the summertime. Visit them online to learn more about their charter packages. You can also like them on Facebook to stay informed of their latest news and opening dates.

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