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.
I hear this a lot and see a lot of bad behavior as a result but often times species get lumped into categories of being better than one another to the point where some are considered trash. Nonnative introduced species such as Carp or Small Mouth Bass in the rivers of Montana I can understand some not liking them but native species like the Mountain Whitefish get a bad rap for no good reason. All waters have natural biodiversity and Whitefish make up part of the diversity found in Montana Rivers. They aren’t the prettiest at times but still part of the ecosystem and sometimes, like this big one, they can look pretty darn good.
Just like this fish, I’m still alive! For those of you who have tried to reach my site in the last couple of days, I do apologize for the down condition my site has been in. I had a little with WordPress but all is fixed now. Yay! Just like this guy, everything turned out okay. It’s finally Fall, the temperature is dropping, the colors are changing and the fish are running upstream to spawn. It’s a great time of the year to be out as long as you are being safe. Stay tuned as I’ll be posting more as this fall unfolds.