It was a fresh season and the never ending “off” season was finally over. My fishing companions and I had been planning our opening trip for far too long. The location was southwest Wisconsin’s driftless area, which offers endless possibilities of runs, pools, and riffles. We managed to talk my father into letting us use his pop-up camper, which beat the hell out of holding each other close to stay warm in a tent (our only other option due to budget constraints).
It was late Thursday evening and I had just landed in Seattle where I was meeting my life long buddy, Jay for a weekend of fishing and camping in the Cascade mountains. I was schlepping my gear through the terminal with a Sage rod tube protruding from my backpack; a beacon stating that I was in town for fun. Walking toward the curbside I was mindlessly checking my iPhone one more time before stepping off the grid for 2 days. That's when the email from Chad came in looking for a photo spread for hatchmag.
Yellowstone National Park is a place that calls to anglers, wildlife photographers, hikers, climbers and lovers of countless other pursuits from around the globe. It is a place of majestic wilderness whose wild landscapes and inhabitants leave an indelible mark in the memories of those that visit it.
The park is home to three different species of native cutthroat trout, all of which face issues resulting from the introduction of non-native fish species -- such as brook trout, brown trout, rainbow trout and lake trout -- into the park's waters.
Pyramid lake spans 125,000 acres reaching depths of 350 feet making it one of Nevada’s largest natural lakes. Located 40 minutes outside of Reno on Paiute Indiana land this emerald watered lake is one of the last respites for the fabled Lahontan cutthroat trout. As the largest inland trout species in the world the Lahontan draws fly fishers from around the globe to test their skill and luck against these giant trout.
Swimming with the salmon in a temperate rainforest stream is unforgettable. Recording the moment with a good photograph is the highest accolade for that memory. I struggle with several major challenges each time I go. First is getting close enough to my subject. I have to get very close in order for the wide-angle effect to become dramatic. If the Dolly Varden are not trying to bite my nose or camera dome port, I’m nowhere near close enough. Next is perspective. My view of things can be ordinary but easily changed to extraordinary by a slight shift in my angle of view.
And then there is the light; the single most important element in a really great image. It is what keeps me going back, day after day, because no moment is the same. The fish may be there for weeks but how their world is lit can vary between seconds. For example, the shot of the Coho school was taken during a week of non-stop rain. I swam alongside a pod of fish, ready to shoot if something interesting happened. Well nothing happened for hours and then, suddenly, the dusty beams of light appeared. My heart almost stopped.