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.
My apologies for not posting much lately but I’ve rather busy since I got back from the latest Montana adventure, this one taking me all the way up north to Libby and the magnificent Kootenai River. It was one heck of a trip that I’m still processing images from and as you can see it’s unlike any river I’ve posted about before. The fishing was great and the photography was great so there will be more to come.
I started flyfishing in the winter many years ago because one of my friends thought it was a good idea. It was really cold, the eyes on our rods would freeze, if you got wet it could lead to frostbite and we didn’t always catch something. Despite all that, it turns out he was right. Winter fishing has become one of the things I look forward to the most out of the year because the trout that we do catch has some of the most vibrant colors I’ve ever seen. Rainbow Trout move out of lakes and up the river to their spawning grounds and during that time the males mainly turn the most vibrant colors. Females can also get good colors but nothing like the males. Just one of these beauties makes the whole day worthwhile.
It is not atypical in the winter months for large chunks of ice to come floating down the river. Dams need to regulate the flow of water that is coming out of that dam. As a result of this the rising and lowering of the water height, combined with the changing of the temperature, will cause large chunks of ice to break off and float downstream. It’s a lot of fun to watch the icebergs float away and occasionally others partake too. While I was out the other day I enjoyed watching a Dipper perch on an iceberg and float away downstream before eventually flying off.
Yep, spotlighting works with fish as well as just about anything else you can point a camera at. It can be difficult to get the lighting right with a subject that is flopping all over the place but if you take a second and look around you for the right light then odds are your photograph will end up stronger. I wanted the light only on this male Brown Trout’s head, specifically the eye. In this case, the sun was behind me and I used my legs to block out the light in the areas where I wanted the shadow. A simple click with the Z50 to preserve the memory of a really good day.