My mini vacation/moving road trip has come to an end. Tomorrow I start my new job as a staff photojournalist at the Bozeman Daily Chronicle newspaper in Bozeman, Montana. As I was leaving California, I managed to squeeze in one last steelhead fly fishing trip with my buddies Kara, Allison and Ryan for a two day mission to the Eel River and Redwood Creek. As you can tell from the photos, we did a lot of walking this trip. It was slow on the fish catching front but overall we had a great time in the beautiful northern California scenery of giant redwood trees. Here are some of my favorites.
Holy moly! I’m a bit backed up with my blog posts. I’ve been meaning to post this one for a while now. A couple months back I got an invite from my friend Allison to join her on a trip up to Alaska for a week of fly fishing for the coho salmon run on Kodiak Island. Allison is an aquatic biogeochemistry and community dynamics grad student in the Ecology Department at UC Davis and was headed up to Fairbanks, Alaska for a science conference. She decided to make a vacation out of it by going up early to have a go at the coho salmon. I have been trying to get to Alaska for years and her invite just happened to coincide with a time break in my wedding photography season. I didn’t hesitate for a second and agreed right there to treat myself to a well deserved mini vacation. Neither of us had ever been up to Alaska let alone the mostly remote Kodiak Island so we started doing some research. There are two ways to fish Kodiak Island – either by staying at a remote fancy/expensive fishing lodge or to fish along the road system. We went with the latter and ended up staying with some friends of hers who lived in the town of Kodiak. Our gracious hosts Matt and Mari lent us their old pickup truck for the week – a blessing and a curse where we had to constantly be monitoring the engine temperature due to it’s frequent overheating. They say it isn’t an adventure until something goes wrong. Kodiak is an island about 250 miles southwest of Anchorage with over 3,500 square miles of rugged wild terrain which makes it the second largest island in the United States behind Hawaii. The place is notorious for it’s lousy, rainy weather but is legendary for it’s salmon runs and large brown bears. We spent the week exploring the river systems of the Buskin River, the American, the Pasagshak and Russian Creek in search of coho salmon. It’s harder than it looks. We caught plenty of pink salmon, a few Dolly Vardens and “luckily” Allison hooked into and landed three silver salmon. I suppose it’s hard to catch a silver salmon with a camera in hand. Alas, I was skunked in the coho department. I redeemed myself later in the week when Matt took Allison and I out on his 60 foot boat for two afternoons of deep sea fishing. I’d never done it before and had a great time catching my first Halibut and a copious amount of rock fish. All in all it was an incredible trip. Alaska is too damn big to conquer in a mere week but I must say that I am in love with it. I will definitely be back soon. -M
Last weekend I headed up north to the Klamath River with my buddy Ryan Peterson and his friend Scott Tucker in search of winter steelhead. I’ve been to this river a lot. With the lack of rain throughout northern California the last couple of weeks, the Klamath offered the best river conditions out of any nearby watershed. We took it upon ourselves to do some exploring of new hard to reach river access points. This meant a lot of bushwhacking through thick blackberry patches and steep hikes down into the river valley. It’s a beautiful place. Bright neon green moss covers the jagged sedimentary rocks along the river bank. We made camp stream side where Ryan cooked a tri-tip for sandwiches over our campfire while Scott supplied us with fine Napa Valley Pinot Noir. It was so nice to be back in the mountains again. Alas, no steelhead would be landed this trip. Here are a couple photos I made during the weekend.
After a grueling summer long hiatus from fly fishing, I finally remedied the situation. Last weekend I met up with my good buddy Ryan Peterson of The Fly Shop and The Big Pull for a weekend fishing for steelhead along the banks of the Klamath River in Northern California. I spent most of my time with a spey rod in hand but I did manage to pick up my camera for a little bit. Here are a couple shots that caught my eye. Tight lines.
I checked the mail the other day to find that the newest edition of The Flyfish Journal issue #3 has been published. It’s exciting because I had another one of my photographs published as a double truck in the opening spreads. I’ve been with these guys from the beginning and I am anxious to see where they take it next. These guys are rewriting the definition of the fishing magazine at a time when the industry and magazines in general are in a state of flux. The magazine has coffee table quality printing, is well written and has excellent photo play. I have yet to find another venue that displays my photos so well. You can check the magazine out for yourself here or find it at any major publication store like Borders or Barnes and Noble. Sweet.
I’m almost embarrassed to admit it but I haven’t been fly fishing since last November. It has been a constant annoyance for me not being able get out and fish. It’s funny how quickly prior commitments build up and begin to consume so much of your time. I was in dire need of getting out onto a river system. Enter Montana fishing guide Matt Payne. This past weekend I had the opportunity to go fish with Matt and his buddy Matt Swan, a guide for The Fly Shop, on the Lower Sacramento River up in my old stomping grounds of Redding, California. Payne has recently moved to the Sacramento area with his wife Janelle and has been actively scouting out northern California rivers for his guiding business. He’s a great guy and a damn fine fisherman. We made a day of hooking into rainbow trout, drinking Coors, and talking all things fish. You couldn’t ask for a better day. This trip was a real treat for me because for the majority of the time, I had a fly rod in my hand and not a camera. Sometimes it’s nice to change it up. Still, shooting pictures is hard to resist. I made a few frames of the Matt’s rowing and nympthing near the Sundial bridge that I was pleased with considering it was high noon sun beating down on us.
Later on I met up with an old fishing buddy of mine Justin Miller, of The Fly Shop, and we cooked up some Argentina style steaks and as a happy experiment, we grilled poblano chili peppers stuffed with feta cheese and wrapped in bacon. I’ll be thinking about that meal all week. Justin is probably one of the most talented fly tyers I know. He was all stoked about his upcoming stripper fishing trip and with that, he decided to design a new fly for the occasion. I have yet to meet someone who gets so pumped about fishing like Justin does. The guy thinks like a fish. Like a true perfectionist, he left nothing to chance and decide to test out his new pattern in his bath tub and if need be would make design adjustments. It was so nice to be in the company of trout bums again. It was an overall killer weekend. Already looking forward to the next outing. -M
I just got back from a weekend fishing the Klamath River with my buddy Ryan Peterson, travel specialist at The Fly Shop. It was just gorgeous this time of year. The fall colors were really popping. I recently purchased a new Profoto AcuteB 600R power pack and lamp head and decided to test them out this weekend. Oh the possibilities. I think I am just scratching the surface with these images of the fly line ripping off the water. I was really pleased with the results. The best part of the trip was that I finally landed my first (small) steelhead. A long time coming. It was great to be back out on a river.
On a side note, I wanted to thank all of you for your votes and support of my work. The book voting end yesterday on the 9th of November. I really appreciate all of the feedback and comments you all posted. Alas, after getting around 265 votes I don’t think I reached enough to make it into the final round of the book judging but I was able to reconnect with many of you and meet some new friends in the process. I look at it as a challenge to improve for the next time. Thanks again everyone. Tight lines, -M