Readers’ wildlife photos (and video)

Stephen Barnard from Idaho has sent photos and a video from his frequent bouts of fishing, as well as two photos for lagniappe. First, the video, with Stephen’s notes indented:

Shot this video this morning. [July 19]. There are Callibaetis and Trico spinners on the water — plenty of both. The Callibaetis are the large dun colored insects and the Tricos are the small black ones. They’re both spent and are sitting ducks for the trout.

You’d think the fish (a rainbow trout) would go for the much larger Callibaetis, but it much prefers the Tricos, taking a Callibaetis now and then, almost reluctantly. If the Trico spinner fall were heavier, which it often is, the trout would ignore the Callibaetis altogether, but when there are no Tricos it would take them with gusto.

This is the kind of thing that make flyfishing interesting, challenging, and often frustrating.

The video also appears on the Orvis website.

I call this sequence “Consider the Trico.” It’s a rainbow trout devouring a trico mayfly.

Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss):

Black-chinned Hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri):

An HDR landscape, too. This morning [last Tuesday]:



  1. somer
    Posted July 25, 2017 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    The last picture of the Idaho property is sooooo beautiful – I can’t believe the colours – almost surreal. The Black chinned hummingbird is pretty nice too.

  2. alexandra Moffat
    Posted July 25, 2017 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Mr Barnard – Tell us about your Border Collies ( think BCs)- yes, this is a cat preference site but maybe JC would allow a bit of d*g talk?
    Great pictures – thank you

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted July 25, 2017 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      +1 !

      Dog pics & update – yes please Mr. Barnard. I was also wondering how your dogs cope when you’re away? Is there a farm manager they can latch onto?

      • Stephen Barnard
        Posted July 25, 2017 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

        I have friends who take care of the dogs when I’m traveling.

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted July 25, 2017 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

      Deets is nine years old and starting to slow down a bit. He’s very large for a border Collie. His dad, Riggs, was the national sheep dog trial champion. Hitch is a bit more than a year old. He’s an athlete even by Border Collie standards, able to jump way over my head for a frisbee.

  3. Posted July 25, 2017 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Thanks for all the pics. I want to be Deets.

    • rickflick
      Posted July 25, 2017 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      I could be Deet’s water dish. 😉

      • rickflick
        Posted July 25, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

        Or should that be Deets’ ?

  4. Bruce Lyon
    Posted July 25, 2017 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    As some very famous dolphins once said, thanks for all the fish! I rarely see nice fish photos like these–they make me see the appeal of fly fishing! How big do your trout get?

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted July 25, 2017 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

      The largest one I’ve caught in Loving Creek was a 21″ brown trout. I’ve caught quite a few rainbows in the 20″ range, which is the rule of thumb for a “large” fish. I’ve seen much bigger ones. At the inlet to one of the ponds there are some immense trout, pushing 30″. I feed them worms but don’t fish for them. (It would be impossible to land them in the tight quarters.)

      I’m usually fishing dry flies with 6x tippet, which has about a 3.5lb breaking strength. The fine tippet is necessary to get a natural, drag-free drift. The creek is full of aquatic weeds and floating mats of algae, so it’s challenging to land a large fish with that rig.

  5. ladyatheist
    Posted July 25, 2017 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    That video would make an excellent video game. Catch a trico, that’s 10 points. Catch a callibaetis, that’s 5 points. Catch a fish hook, you lose the game!

  6. rickflick
    Posted July 25, 2017 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    The spots on the trout’s snout are really well defined and vivid in the closeup, while I’m sure they provide excellent cloaking from above.
    The bow wave creates an optical distortion of the eyes, which makes me wonder how well they can see through the air water barrier to detect danger or food. Perhaps their brains contain circuits that correct for the refraction.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted July 25, 2017 at 12:36 pm | Permalink


      That’s a good question! I got interested & looked around. Happy to be shot down by anybody with direct knowledge.

      Fish, have nearly perfectly spherical lenses & the refractive indices are the highest of all animals [from Wiki]. They don’t change the shape of the lens to gain focus [as we do], instead they move each spherical lens in & out in relation to the retina.

      The trout sees the surface/sky as a complete circle above & it sees objects lying on the surface partly by the ‘dent’ the object creates in the surface ‘skin’ of the water [surface tension of the water molecules]. The dents in the water skin of a water boatman’s legs [for example], or a fly will SHOUT OUT to a hunting trout, because those upside down bumps concentrate light & appear very bright. A fly fishing site says those silvery dents trigger the fish to bite [if it’s just the right sort of dent…]

      I notice that between bites the trout sinks below the surface entirely at least 6″ & then scans for the next surface target. It approaches underwater & doesn’t crack the surface until the last moment – by which time the mouth is agape [last image]. I don’t think they use their eyes at all at that point – it’s only a fraction of a second to the bite. Sharks don’t use their eyes at all in the last few yards of their attacks – perhaps trout are the same.

      Fishermen [& women] say that trout have an ability to detect small, light things hit the water a long way away beyond what seems reasonable – not quite hearing – more a sensation of compression waves. I wonder if this is true or fishing baloney?

      Worth a read:

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted July 25, 2017 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

        My only fishing friend [who exaggerates a lot] says he hates fishing near paths [e.g canal towpaths] because… He reckons some fish can ‘hear’ people walking by & it’s bad for business. If fish can hear that it would have to be very low frequency compression waves through the soil & into the water.

        • Stephen Barnard
          Posted July 25, 2017 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

          Trout can definitely sense footsteps on the bank.

          Learning how to approach trout is a big part of fly fishing. The circle that Michael Fisher mentioned is important. Everything outside the circle reflects the bottom so everything else is invisible to the fish. Trout are very sensitive to movement, but are not good at object recognition. I can stand still in full view of a trout at my feet and it won’t spook until I move.

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted July 25, 2017 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

            Thank you. At what range do trout care about colours of your lures? Or is movement & ‘sparkle’ the thing? Or something else perhaps?

            • Stephen Barnard
              Posted July 25, 2017 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

              There’s a debate about color. In my opinion (regarding dry flies) selective trout are most sensitive to the size and profile of the fly, and color is relatively unimportant. I think it’s unlikely that trout see colors the same way we do, especially under water.

              Fly tiers use a variety of materials to add “sparkle” to flies. My preference is to use a natural imitation.

      • rickflick
        Posted July 25, 2017 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

        Interesting subject. The link makes me think people who fish probably have time to get to know the fish pretty well. They can experiment over years of fishing and determine what works and what doesn’t. It would not be that difficult to place a camera under water and find out the reaction of trout to low frequency waves and other stimuli.

  7. Dale Franzwa
    Posted July 26, 2017 at 12:44 am | Permalink

    Great pics and video. Reader comments are also top notch. Fly fishing is the true pinnacle of angling.

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