fishing for words

(and tossing out random thoughts)

a blog exclusive you won’t find on my wall

7 Comments

This post brought to you by the photo prompt
Most Un-Frame Worthy Outdoor Photo You Got
from the Outdoor Blogger Network (OBN)

Let’s be clear. Fishing small high-country streams means the trophies taken home are usually limited to skinned knees, a sore back or scratches inflicted by any one or multiple species of vegetation.

Those who ask how the fishing was probably won’t understand that the trip is more than just fishing. It’s fishing that entails a walk that, longer than expected, become a hike; the stalking of trout so skittish its remarkable they aren’t afraid of the bugs they eat; and the creation of memories that draw a fisherman back time after time.

Where I fish, at elevations of 6,000-plus feet in the Sierra Nevadas and often above 8,000 feet, there are incredible opportunities to sink back into forests most notable for the lack of human visitation. In the small creeks and rivers found under lodgepole and western white pines, red firs, mountain hemlock and aspens, wild trout live a hardscrabble life during a summer that rarely lasts more then eight weeks. The small size of these trout truly belies their spirit.

But that’s not why they don’t end up in a framed photo on my wall. These trout are so darn small that holding a fish in one handle while using the other to fiddle with camera’s macro setting invariably results in a photo that’s too fuzzy to be called “arty” of a fish that would be a snack for what’s traditionally deemed a trophy trout.

But since so many of these high-country trout to obligingly rise to any of the customary trout flies, seemingly regardless of size, the outcome of a photo op can be a bit unpredictable.

Unframeable Fish Photo

the photo that shall not be framed

However, the one photo that will never be framed I also hesitate to share in the blogosphere. Because the fish is so small? Because the photo is so blurry? Yes to both questions.

…but mostly because I don’t know what the heck it might be it’s not a trout.

Pikeminnow.Squawfish.Hardhead

From the South Fork of the Tuolumne River: Pikeminnow? Squawfish? Hardhead? Your guess?


P.S. I’ve since upgraded to a better and waterproof camera to compensate for my lack of photographic skill.

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7 thoughts on “a blog exclusive you won’t find on my wall

  1. Hey Patrick. I have to agree with you about the little ones in the high mountain creeks. Last year I fished several up the highway 50 & 88 corridors and they were all small, but fun to catch when they rise to that dry placed just so. -Mark

  2. I’m gonna go with Squawfi— er…Pikeminnow, mainly because I don’t know what a hardhead is in terms of fish species. Although the photo is SO bad it’s hard to make out the details necessary for proper identification. 😉 I’ve caught a few, though much larger (like a whopping 7-10 inches).

  3. Sure about that size? Could it be an optical illusion with those undersized mitts of yours?

  4. I’d say your top fish was indeed ambitious and a tad on the over zealous side. Or just really hungry! Hopefully you meet up with his bigger than his britches attitude again when he’s all grown up.

    As for that unknown bambino. I’d say in politically correct terms–pikeminnow and it has the minnow part down pat.

    And I agree with you, Kirk’s calculations on the size of a fish can no longer be a trusted estimate of anything…

    Glad you shared these!

  5. I love the title “from the writing prompt.” Nicholas and Nathan are up to their eyeballs in writing prompts at school…have to show them Uncle Pat does them too! 🙂

    Enjoyed the blog and photos!

  6. Wow, tough TOUGH crowd here today!

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