Monday, October 28, 2013

Silver Creek Apache Trout

  Today I had planned to do about a thousand other things that needed to be done but when I awoke to find rain and drizzle falling outside, my ambition quickly faded away and I decided to get to work on a painting recently requested by a client.
  This work titled "Release Of A Silver Creek Apache" is a spin from my resent painting of a Rainbow Trout being released.  I really liked that painting so it was no surprise when I got an email asking if I could paint a similar painting only with an Apache Trout as the subject instead of the rainbow. My answer - Heck Yeah!
  They also asked if - since it was a gift for an angler in their life that had caught a number of Apache Trout on the Silver Creek in Pinetop AZ - could I replicate the grass and reed choked banks of the legendary stretch of water.  So with greens and yellow pigments in the pallet I eager went to work painting grass.
  I love painting the rare species of American Trout and the beloved and endangered Apache is no exception.  A few years ago I did a series of paintings of rare trout and they must be popular to other anglers out there because everyone of them sold fairly quickly.  Classified as Critically Endangered, this beautifully spotted trout dwells in only a small section of the south western United States.  With its distinct yellow coloring it is a treasure among fishes and I am glad that this painting will serve as a memento to a beautiful fish that was released back into the wild.
  I am going to look into getting high quality Giclee prints made of this one of a kind painting so feel free to email me with requests.

"Release Of A Silver Creek Apache"
Watercolor on Paper
Size - Aprox 14in x 10in
Original Sold
Prints Available Soon

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Painting Trout Flies

  Just having a bit of fun painting flies.  Its up to you which way you see this painting.  As always, this work is for sale.  feel free to email me for pricing. Have a Great weekend!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The American Cutthroat - A National Treasure

   The Cutthroat Trout is an absolute favorite of mine as it is with many an angler.  Unfortunately my ability to hook into these great trout are severely limited due to simple geography.  Despite a work schedule that has me roving around the country, my chances to get out west to fish in the habitat of the cutthroat is severely limited.  All that being said, I still love to dream and paint these iconic fish.
   For my eastern counterparts I will provide a little education on this truly American Trout.  All 14 plus subspecies of cutthroats are native to North American and have a habitat that range from a North west sea run species on down through the mountains of the south western United States.  Depending on the water in which they dwell, the Cutty can have a wide range of coloration but all carry the distinct reddish slit of red below the upper jaw.
  The larger set of Cutthroat are typically of the sea run variety and can reach sizes in excess of 20lbs while most landlocked river cutthroats are limited to a maximum of 2-3lbs.  Due to the geographical isolation of a few groups of these beautiful fish they have developed a few distinct subsets that are now listed as 'threatened' due to loss of habitat and the introduction of competing species of trout such as the prolific rainbow or lake trout.
    While I was in Yellowstone this past summer I got to talking with a game management officer on the fate of the Cutthroat in Yellowstone lake.  A number of decades ago the Lake Trout was introduced by some yahoo that thought it would make the lake a better fishery.  Well If you like catching the sluggish Lake Trout over the beautifully native Cutthroat then it was a successful introduction.  However if you value the preservation of an American treasure, the introduction of the Lake Trout has been detrimental to the lake.
  Not only does the lake trout have a longer live, and as such a breading life, it also preys on the young cutthroats and cleans out the food supply normally used by the Cutthroats.  In short, the Lake trout is quickly out-pacing the native fish for habitat.  Left unchecked the lake will soon be devoid of all cutthroats.  Today however the park officials have instituted a program to check the population of the lake trout in Yellowstone.  Using large nets they set them at a level that targets only lake trout and not the cuts.  Through sanctioned and controlled fish kills of the invasive trout, the project has checked their numbers and given the native Cutthroats a fighting chance.

    For this painting of a Cutthroat Trout I have chosen to go a different direction then you normally see with my paintings.  With a uniquely brisk movement of brush strokes I gave this piece an effect that one can only get through the use of watercolor paints.  Letting the pigments flow with abandon then coming back with a few detail strokes I was able to give it a bit more definition.

"10-13 Cutthroat"
Size - 10in X 8in. 
Watercolor on Paper
For Sale

  Finally, I saw this in the paper this morning and I thought since it was about the only thing good in the newspaper I would share it with you.  Enjoy the rest of Your week!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sketching Trout And Shameless Self Promotion

  With all the work lately I have had only the time to dream and doodle of the Rainbows and Brooks and Brown trout that are changing colors with the trees.  This time of year is the perfect time to head out into the back country and see the wide range of colors but unlike those watching leaves, I prefer to witness the trout in full spawning colors.  Hopefully next month I'll get to do a little hunting of color on my own but for now I will sketch and dream.

  I also wanted to share with you a few updates to  A little shameless self promotion never hurt anybody and since my fly fishing coffers are a bit depleted at the moment I thought I'd stoke your fire for wall hangers and possibly sell a few paintings along the way.  If you have yet to click over and visit the gallery of art available to you then I hope you'll take a few moments and see some of the new paintings I have done over the past weeks.  Feel free to shoot me an email with any questions you might have in the process.
Messing Around On a Bow Hunt

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Release Of A Rainbow Trout (Watercolor) Plus Some New Prints Available

  Picking up the paints early this morning I decided that it was a good day to paint a rainbow trout.  After a long stretch working with paints on smooth illustration paper I chose to go back to the watercolor paper for a little more texture.
  Last week I was lucky enough to have some free time to hit the mountain streams for Rainbows and Browns.  That little trip was just what I needed to get back to painting the Rainbow Trout.  Pulling beautiful trout from the Chattooga River in the upstate of South Carolina is an endless source of inspiration.  Needless to say it was not to hard to get started on this painting.
 For this painting titled "Release Of A Rainbow Trout" I decided to go with my ideal rainbow.  Although the your typical young trout are a thing of beauty with distinct color banding and the big monsters are a blast to catch, my ideal rainbow trout is a moderate to full sized trout with stunning red sides, a dark green back, and covered gill plate to tail fin with stark black spots.
  I also decide with this one to do something a bit different for me.  I am always a bit hesitant to paint water.  Attempting to truly capture the colors and flow of lines in painting water is a obstacle I always a bit afraid to embark on. For a guy that paints fish you can understand that this hesitation is a bad one to have so for this one I chose to conquer (or attempt to overcome) that obstacle by painting a rainbow trout being released from the net.  This not only added a better natural dynamic to the finished watercolor but also allowed me to paint some reflections on the water surface.  In the end I think I got what I was shooting for.
Release Of A Rainbow Trout

'Release Of A Rainbow Trout'
- Watercolor On Paper
- Size 13"x 9"

Also, for those of you that have been following my latest paintings of Saltwater species including the Red Drum, Speckled Sea Trout, and Spanish Mackerel, I am glad to inform you that not only are the originals for sale but I have also had a number of gallery quality Giclee prints made up in a 16inx12in size.  They would make perfect wall hangers for those that love chasing these fun fish.  Prints are priced a $60each.  Both the Originals and prints and are available at my other site
Red Drum (RedFish)
Spanish Mackerel
Speckled Sea Trout

Friday, October 11, 2013

Trout Fishing On The Deliverance (Chattooga River)

  Yesterday I had the rare opportunity to drive the hour and forty five minutes to fish one of my favorite rivers in the South East.  For those of you well versed in geography and useless movie knowledge, the Chattooga is the legendary river from that Burt Reynolds movie - Deliverance.
   Down here in this part of the country that movie is mentioned in hushed tones of disdain because of ...  well lets just say the locals don't take to well to being portrayed as toothless hillbillies that yell out 'squeal like a pig'.  Personally I like the stigma of the river - It keeps the tenderfoots away and lets me fish a beautifull river in utter solitude.
So on Thursday - with the in-laws wanting to visit family in upper GA and my family in tow I managed to get them to agree to drop me off at the hwy 28 bridge on the Chattooga river.  It is a section of river I know all to well as it was one of the first stretches of water I ever fished as a fly fisherman.  I have never been skunked there as far as I remember and even in a driving rain I have been in awe of the beauty of the place
  Packing up the Fall River Fly rod and my beloved Abel Fly Reel we made the journey out and with clear instructions on how to get back to the place they dropped me off, I headed out alone.  As they drove off I half wondered if they could find their way back though the tangle of back country roads.
  Stepping into the cool clear waters You cant help but be struck with the thought that the these waters have been flowing through these hills un-disturbed for centuries.  The waters I am about to fish have been fished by countless anglers including the native Americans, pioneer settlers, and who knows who else.  It is a true national treasure but unlike the waters of Yellowstone and Yosemite, this gem is still open.  The government has no strangle hold on this slice of public land.  This morning I saw a cartoon in the paper that had the Ranger chasing Yogie Bear out of Jellystone with a forty five, a sign in the background simply said 'due to the government shutdown all national parks are closed.  I chuckled a little and then thought how we got here.  How did our lands cease to be Our lands and how have we allowed the government to grab so much power from the people that they are suppose to beholden too?
  Away from the chaos of the government and ratcheting rhetoric from so called news outlets, I began casting my line for the trout that inhabit the Chattooga.  Starting with a little green drake I tried my hand at dry fly fishing but with no flies rising I knew it would be a tough proposition.  Quickly I switched to a heavy nymph - Hairs Ears - then the go-to Pheasant Tail.  After an hour with nothing but a brief glimpse of a tail I switched over to my standby - The Blacknose Dace.  Immediately I had two fish follow the dace but turn away at the last moment.  My conclusion was that the streamer was just a bit to long but after looking through my box I realized that the only smaller bucktail in stock was a little rainbow bucktail in size #10.  I tied it on and let it rib.  From then on I was living in high cotton.
  One after another bows and browns were feeding on the little rainbow bucktail without hesitation.  Tossing the light streamer with a sinker about three feet from the hook gave the bucktail enough weight to get down to the fish and was still easy enough for the Fall River Bamboo fly rod to give a great cast.
  Its a good day when you loose track of the number of fish you catch and today was a GOOD day.  After about the tenth or eleventh fish my poor little #10 rainbow bucktail had had it.  Unfortunately as it is nearing the end of the season and I haven't yet replenished my fly boxes, the #10 was the last of its kind and I did my best to nurse it along but the rough mouths of rainbows and browns had done their damage.  When it was retired, all that was left was a few colored hairs and the unwinding black thread that use to hold the fly together.
  For a brief moment I contemplated tying on another blacknose dace but a rise of a grey fly from the waters at my feet told me that it was time to give the dry fly another shot.
  My choice was clear.  I tied on a #16 Adams and let her rip.  In short order I had another run of fish making their way into the net.
   Looking at my watch I saw that my time on the water was nearing an end and after a final cast with a caddis pattern that yielded a large Dace, I packed it up and started down the path for the nearly two mile walk back to meet my ride.  Another great day on the water and another load of trout (and one Dace) to add to the legacy of this river.
  Without a doubt I would have to say that fishing with great equipment added to the pleasure of the afternoon.  The Fall River bamboo fly rod and my fantastic Abel Fly Reel are so greatly paired for each other that they should have been sold as a set.  The two pieces of equipment are a thing of beauty and do every fish justice that are pictured next to it.  I would have never thought such a combo of fine quality equipment would have impacted how I fished but it truly has.  It is shear joy to cast to beautiful fish on a stunning river with flawless equipment.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Tying Favorite Flies

Its that time again.  As the winter slowly seeps into our hunting grounds and the chances to step into cold streams diminishes, we fly fisherman break out the fly tying equipment in an effort to re-stock our depleted stores.  It is also a chance for us to reestablish what our favorite flies are and which flies we will be tying first.  It is also a time to head put to the local fly shop and load up on all the materials needed to fill our boxes.  Feathers, hair, and hooks are always the order of the day but occasionally you find a new material to incorporate into your tying.

For me the list of favorite flies is fairly simple.  I often try new flies throughout the season with varying levels of success but always have the following flies in ready supply.
 The Caddis - in every style this dry fly kills them.  I have them in dark and light elk hair, deer hair, white hair, and dressed in black.  With bodies cloaked in shades of green, brown, yellow, and black, I love these flies for about every species of fresh water fish I catch.  Trout love them, bluegills devour them, and even the occasional bass will have a go at them.  Truly a great and powerful bug!

  The Hares Ears and Pheasant Tails- No fly angler should ever be without these little guys.  From the beaded to the un-weighted these simple bugs have produced for me some great looking trout.  Personally I like the simple two - three ingredient flies and the way I tie them I can whip out a good dozen in short order.  This fly along with Frank Sawyers Pheasant Tail are a staple in the fly box.

  The Black Nose Dace - For a streamer most guys pull out the Woolly Bugger but the BND is my go-to streamer when the rest of my box fails to produce anything.  Short jerky pulls through a cross stream retrieve often triggers a great strike and if that doesn't work then a long medium speed retrieve will.
Tied in sizes #12-#6 this streamer is always in my box because of one simple reason - It WORKS.

  And the Tenkara Fly - really any tenkara fly will do for me as long as its a reverse hackle.  The only thing I worry about is the color.  Black with a spot of red often works but so does an all red body.  I have had a florescent green hit all day and then head back the next with the very same fly only to fail miserably.  The same has been true with yellows, greens, olives, and brown bodies so it is important to have the colors stocked in the box.  Even in non tenkara fishing these flies have been a regular feature in my box.  Interchanged with the nymphs, these flies will simply produce.  With their effectiveness I wonder why it took so long for the western fly fishing world to catch on.
  It is the season to tie.  Tell me what your favorite fly is and why you are tying it this season.  I'd love to add another fly to my box - especially if it produces.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Painting The Speckled Sea Trout (#3 Saltwater Series)

Speckled Sea Trout
  Here is another fish painting for those of you that love those toothy saltwater fish.  The Speckled Sea Trout is one of those shoreline fish that many a surf angler has hooked into.  Hook into these on a light tackle setup and you are in for a spell of fun fishing!
  For those of you that have never fished for or hooked into a speckled sea trout let me give you a little advice.  Bring a pair of fish pliers!!
  While fishing these fish for the first time a few years ago I was completely caught off guard by the massive fangs protruding from the upper lip of these trout.  I would even go so far as to say that these trout should be renamed the Vampire Trout.   As a primarily fresh water fly fisherman I did what I normally do to after a catch an attempted to remove the fly from one of these fish with my fingers.  Big mistake!  Vampire Trout... enough said.
 For those that follow my painting you know that this is the third installment of my series on saltwater fish and just like those that preceded it I kept the color line effects below the body of the fish.  Using this effect not only adds a dynamic element to the backdrop but also ties the colors of the painting together.  It also allows me to see how well the colors work together and when I move on to painting the fish, allows me to adjust the color palette on the fly.
  Because the colors of the sea trout vary depending on the type of water it inhabits I decided that instead of painting the silver ocean sea trout I would instead paint the more colorful inshore, sandy color Speckled Sea Trout.  Commonly found on the sandbars, grass flats, and brackish waters of the Florida Coast, this type of sea trout is a blast for fly angler.

Speckled Sea Trout
Red Drum (Red Fish)
Spanish Mackerel