Certain times of the year are better for fishing than others because the fish have changed color and are more “beautiful” to catch. I put that in quotes because from a sheer enjoyment factor, every minute out is fun but photographically we are always looking for more color or vibrancy that makes the subject pop and stand out from others. Rainbows are in their Spring spawning phase and in smaller streams, it’s common to find reds that are filled with eggs. It is important to be extremely careful around these reds as a footprint can destroy them and thus destroy future generations of fish. Once you catch that one specimen that deserves a little extra time, keyword there is little, be sure to keep it wet while taking a photo and focus on the smaller details and the whole specimen. The cheeks and eyes caught my attention on this cut-bow which is why I focused closely on the face. It put up a good fight, so it was fast in and out of the net.
Big or small catching fish is always about having fun and with a 4wt these little guys are a blast. Fall is a great time for brown trout as they are getting ready to spawn and are much more aggressive making them more likely to bite. What’s great about this is all of the colors they start to show and as a photographer more color is always a good thing. A little light and a nice rocky background set the stage for this aquatic treasure.
I keep trying to find new and fun ways to show the same thing and frankly, it gets to be kind of hard. There are a number of names for this kind of shot, the fin, and grin, the trophy shot, the specimen, etc. It’s an important photo because at the end of the day when you’re out on the water you’re trying to catch a fish and thus want to showcase it later on. What’s important to remember is how to highlight what makes each specimen unique. This one was a big baddie so I wanted more attitude and to achieve that I got low, used the pop-up screen on the Z50, and went wide with the 18-35. It’s a very simple technique to make a subject look bigger with more attitude.
I love this time of year! The smoke, thanks to the hard work of all the people working on putting out the fires, has slowly left Gallatin Valley making for some really enjoyable crisp clean good feeling Fall days. The air is definitely getting colder with a small snowfall last week on the mountain tops. This is also the time of the year when German Brown Trout turn those gorgeous pumpkin brown colors that make anglers get all excited for fishing. As we get closer to closer into spawning season, their color patterns will turn even more dramatic making for some great angling but remember that they are going to spawn so be careful on the small streams and side channels as they start to make reds. This was a quick click with the Nikon Z50, FTZ converter and 24-70 AF-S.
The best part of getting up early is the reward of the catch afterward. Hyalite is a pretty cool reservoir for fishing as it has been stocked with Yellowstone Cutthroat, Arctic Grayling, and Brook Trout. For the avid angler in the valley, it’s a great place to spend a morning or afternoon. The photography can be fun as well with so many species potentially to work with. Due to the smaller size of the individuals, I opted for a smaller net with a black mesh fabric because it made for a better background prop as opposed to my usual one. It’s a small detail but it can make a difference.
My apologies for the hiatus recently but the last four weeks have been very busy with some really good life moments. It’s far too much to go into here but all is well. The record heat that has been hitting all over certainly has been felt here in the Rockies, which has lead a lot of people to ask me where to go fish and where to go shoot? Well, the smoke really doesn’t make it enticing to go out and take photos but there are some options for fishing, which can lead to some photo ops. High altitude lakes are a great place to fish right now because the water is still cold and fishing pressure won’t hurt the aquatic species that inhabit the lake. Not everyone has that option, but for those of you that do it is a good place to go. Try to go on a clearer sky day so that you aren’t breathing in all that smoke and enjoy nature.
Yellowstone cutthroats are such beautiful fish! It’s great to see them again in some of their natural habitats. For many years they were either gone or very scarce and while the West Slope Cutthroat is still trying to come back in some places the Yellowstone Cuttie seems to be doing okay. For those that have spent a lot of time fishing for this species then you know how delicate they can be and short handling time is essential. A couple of quick picks and then away they go.
It’s June in Montana which means that the Salmon Flies are starting to make their way across the state in what turns into one of the biggest fish-feeding frenzies of the whole summer. These giant prehistoric bugs look like something that you would never want to come across but in fact, they are not only harmless, they are very docile. In all my years of fishing in the state, I’ve never had an issue with them except when the face gets covered by too many. While I don’t normally photograph insects these things are so cool and are part of such unique biodiversity in the state’s rivers that you just have to stop and grab a click. Over the next month they will continue to move south and as they do the fish will turn on and off like a light bulb, with the fishing gorging themselves. The opportunities with the camera and the line can be endless during this time.
There are a couple of staple shots in the realm of fishing that most photographers get accustomed to taking, the fin and grin, the release, the take, the underwater, and so on. One of the shots that I love taking but is hard to get in the habit of taking is the casting shot. There are a couple of ways to go about it; you can stand behind the subject or in front of the subject to get a more head-on view of the line, you can go from above depending on the terrain and equipment you have to use, or of course, you can go from the side. Personally, I think it all depends on the light, the foreground, and the background. These elements really dictate what stance to take on the photo. The Kootenai River is a gorgeous mixture of colors but the mountains in the springtime aren’t necessarily all that interesting, so going from the side made sense here. Plus, with my two friends both fishing, I wanted to see them both in the photo. There are many ways to capture this element of the sport and it’s important that no matter which way you do, that you at least try.