FishEyeGuy || Native Trout Photography
Amongst the granite spires and Pines of the High Sierras exists the world's most stunning trout species. Mimicking their unsurpassed surroundings, the Golden Trout is an explosion of color and perfection. Hiking deep in the Sierras is a right of passage for all native trout fanatics and the rewards are well worth the effort. A quick glance at this fish and its ridiculous coloration confirms that mother nature is our greatest artist.
A mutant age class 16 inch male which survived probably 5 years in a creek only 3 feet wide. Found at 11,000 feet in a meadow that was actually an avalanche path and under ten feet of snow half the year. Pushed here by everything we bring and surviving in less than 1% of their original range, this, the most perfect speciman is only the last remnant of this native species.
Nestled deep in the legendary high country of Colorado's fourteeners, a spawning pair of Greenbacks find a sanctuary thousands of feet above the nearest trailhead. Considered extinct for nearly forty years, the Greenback Cutthroat has persevered to become a success story for the Endangered Species Act. After being found in only a mile or two of isolated headwaters streams, agencies took the necessary steps to save the species and it now thrives in over sixty locations.
Remaining in less then 10% of their original range, the Inland Redband Rainbow Trout calls the Kootenai it's home drainage. High on the Yaak River above multiple waterfall barriers the true native holds on despite heavy sediment loads from logging and mining in the hills above. Intense spotting and its distinct red band distinguishes it among Rainbows.
Wild Steelhead are the lions of the savanna. They rule the roost as the strongest and rarest of top predators. Roaming thousands of miles between ocean and river, they are the true barometer of the health of our planet. The coastal rivers where the Steelhead spawn flow through the most productive timberland in the world. While a balance has been struck in some areas, other rivers are paying the price. This Steelhead was found finning underneath the redwoods of northern California.
The high elevation sage dessert of Idaho's copper basin is a refuge for native westslopes. The Big Lost River has it's headwaters in the Pioneer Mountains of this most remote corner of the state. This particular fish was the dean of his domain. A perfect tall bodied and colorful specimen.
A very lucky shot of a Brook Trout and Yellowstone Cutthroat. While this is one of my most popular photos, it shows another one of the problems facing the Cutthroat. Brook Trout are not native and compete with native Yellowstone Cutthroat for food and lies.
Since the illegal introduction of Lake Trout in Yellowstone Lake, the Yellowstone Cutthroat has seen their numbers decline rapidly landing them on the species of special concern list. The invading army of Lakers have plowed unknowingly through an ecosystem in which they are completely foreign, resulting in an ecological disaster in the heart of Yellowstone
The Westslope Cutthroat attacks anything that floats within eyesight of its lie making it highly susceptible to overfishing. Short growing seasons and nutrient poor high mountain habitat make for an agresive fish. The creeks and rivers flowing out of the Bob Marshall Wilderness have stunning green water and kaleidoscope like rock bottoms. The rivers are like liquid glass and the blazing coloration of the Cutts are a spectacle to behold.