Tag Archives: Rainbow Trout

“First Coltsfoot of the Season”

“First Coltsfoot of the Season”

“When you know that something’s going to happen, you’ll start trying to see signs of its approach in just about everything. Always try to remember that most of the things that happen in this world aren’t signs. They happen because they happen, and their only real significance lies in normal cause and effect. You’ll drive yourself crazy if you start trying to pry the meaning out of every gust of wind or rain squall. I’m not denying that there might actually be a few signs that you won’t want to miss. Knowing the difference is the tricky part.”
― David Eddings

I was not planning a second post for today, but decided to share an important plant for me. The Coltsfoot, is always the first native plant to bloom in my area. It’s blossoms signal the beginning of many natural cycles. Once I see them, I can begin looking for other emerging plants like wild leeks (ramps), blue cohosh, and spring beauties. They also signal, and I’m not sure how this works, other than probably something to do with ambient temperatures, the beginning of the annual rainbow trout spawn.

So, when I saw the first little splash of yellow (yes, yellow has returned), and knowing these are not dandelions, though they are often mistaken for them, I grabbed my camera gear and hit the trails around Duffins Creek to see how the trout were doing.

Though they were not numerous and the water was still a bit murky from the runoff, I did see a few dark shapes beneath the water. The spawn is on! I’m looking forward to watching this spectacle once more, and hopefully, making some nice images to share here over the next few weeks.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/640sec, f/10.0, ISO 800

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“Hugh’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Week 29 – ‘Open’

“Duffins Creek Rainbow Trout”

I have several interpretations to the OPEN theme. It could be open to any category of post or it could be the ‘opening’ of something, like a door. In this case, it’s the opening of the natural spring cycle in my area of Canada. Throughout the winter, this large creek lies frozen. Within a few short weeks it transforms from ice to a living place once more (another opening of sorts), as the Rainbow Trout begin their annual spawning migration up the creek. Once more, it’s a link to a photo I made back in April, and one of my favourites.

This creates another link to OPEN for me, because a few days after the spawn ends, the fishing season opens.

I was debating submitting this image as well because the snake’s mouth is very clearly open as well. Ah, choices!“Pain in the Butt” - Seaton Trail

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“Springtime Forest Walk”

"Spring Forest Walk"

“This life is yours. Take the power to choose what you want to do and do it well. Take the power to love what you want in life and love it honestly. Take the power to walk in the forest and be a part of nature. Take the power to control your own life. No one else can do it for you. Take the power to make your life happy.”
― Susan Polis Schutz

If we were having a coffee…

I’d tell you about how beautiful the past week has been. Temperatures, though up and down, have been getting milder, my favourite wildflowers are beginning to bloom, and the trout are running up Duffins Creek. The annual cycle of spring is in full swing.

These are the days I can barely stand to sit inside working, but work  has to get done. Yet, I’m fortunate to live very close to many hiking trails and creeks that I can enjoy during my lunch time. And then, there are weekends where the trails beckon for longer visits, weather permitting.

Today, I went for a hike with my son, who also enjoys the outdoors and photography. We visited the dam at Whitevale, hoping to capture some migrating trout jumping. It’s been a strange season and the water is still quite cold, so, no luck there. On top of that, the fishing season just opened and the usually quiet shores were lined with a continuous row of fishermen, some friendly and welcoming, others, not so much. I know this is but a brief moment in time and soon calm will return once more.

We left the creek and drove a few miles north to the East Duffins Creek Headwaters trail, for peaceful walk in the woods, pictured above. The trails are lined with red pine and a mix of hardwoods. This area is at a slightly higher elevation and wildflowers were a bit more sparse. Despite that, we had a great time walking and catching up. How’s your week been?

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm
1/125 sec, f/5.6 ISO 200

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“Against the Odds”

"Against the Odds" - Duffins Creek

“When you do or think or feel something, do it with passion. Let it come from the heart. Put your heart and soul in it. And when you do, you will feel a river flowing sweetly through you and especially through your entire life. Life has much more meaning that way. ”
― Angie Karan

A painterly image I made yesterday, based on a photo of two trout swimming upstream at the Whitevale bridge, north of Pickering, Ontario.

What struck me was how the body of the dark fish flowed with the water, or did the water flow with the fish? As I processed the image, the flow of colour, from warm orange tones and larger river rocks at the bottom to cooler blue tones and multi-coloured pebbles at the top began to become more noticeable, yet the dark body of the fish dominates the scene. The entire image speaks of movement, energy, and overcoming. I’m really pleased with how it turned out.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm
1/100 sec, f/5.0 ISO 200

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“Mating Pair” – Rainbow Trout in Duffins Creek

“Mating Pair” - Rainbow Trout in Duffins Creek

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”
― John Lubbock

When time allows, I like to visit Duffins creek and stroll the riverbank, especially at this time of year. The narrow wooded trail follows the shoreline, through grand cedar stands, into deep gullys, along the creek, with its variable structure of rocky sandbanks, deep holes, and fast flowing rapids.

At this time of year, new growth is slowly emerging. Splashes of bright green dot the forest floor. Spring plants such as Coltsfoot, Bloodroot, Trout Lilies, and violets dot the landscape, welcoming the warmth of spring. Fiddleheads, the young growth of ferns, sit in tight knots, not quite ready to open, and the trout start their annual run up the creek to the dam at Whitevale, a small hamlet north of Pickering, Ontario.

At the right time of day, the trout try to leap up the fifteen foot high concrete dam, designed to keep the introduced steelhead trout from migrating further upstream. On this visit, the trout were not jumping yet and were pooled just beneath the dam. Many rested in the shallow pools just above the last set of rapids, including this pair, in full breeding colours. The shallow water allowed me to get a clear image from slightly above. This pair will breed and shortly thereafter, follow the creek back to Lake Ontario, where they will remain till the instinct to migrate up the creek returns next spring.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm
1/125 sec, f/5.6 ISO 200

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“Upstream” – Rainbow Trout in Duffins Creek

"Upstream" - Rainbow Trout in Duffins Creek

“No one is without troubles, without personal hardships and genuine challenges.  That fact may not be obvious because most people don’t advertise their woes and heartaches.  But nobody, not even the purest heart, escapes life without suffering battle scars.”
― Richelle E. Goodrich

The dark shape hovers, just below the surface. Defying the rush of the frigid spring waters. Moving neither forward, nor back. Fixed in it’s intent, it’s goal. Progress from this point seems improbable. Then, with a flick of it’s tail, like liquid lightning, it darts into the depths ahead, resting and awaiting the next challenge.

I stand on the shore, watching this drama played out, time and time again. Beneath cold, rushing waters, in currents that would sweep us off our feet, the rainbow trout, in their annual spring migration persevere against the elements. They hang, suspended, seemingly motionless, as the waters rush around them, for longer than seems possible.

These are the early migrants, having already travelled many miles up Duffins creek, from Lake Ontario, through deep, calm pools, shallow, rocky rapids, barely deep enough to cover their hulking masses; across clay bottoms and sandy shoals. These are not small fish. Many are over two feet long and weighing close to twenty pounds (9 kg). Yet they get through waters that barely cover them.

This is the Duffins Creek Migration, an annual spring event that is just starting out and at it’s peek will see trout in vast quantities, ‘stacked’ in certain areas of the creek, awaiting their turn to run further up the creek, following these early venturers.

I chose this particular image since this is how the trout often appear from the shore. They are just a shadow, suspended in the water, defying the current.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm
1/10 sec, f/16.0, ISO 200

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“Undercut” – Duffins Creek at Whitevale

“Undercut” - Duffins Creek at Whitevale

“A river seems a magic thing. A magic, moving, living part of the very earth itself.”
― Laura Gilpin

A few mere weeks ago, this entire scene was filled with ice and snow. A handful of mild days, and it’s all a memory, preserved and recalled in thoughts and photos.

Since I don’t live in an area with high mountains and grand vistas, I take great pleasure in long hikes along the local creeks and through forest paths. Moving water, especially in the form of creeks, cascades, and rapids, holds a special fascination to me. I love the way it moves, how the light plays in the currents and eddies. The water courses themselves are alive and always a bit different every time I visit. There’s a new log on the banks, winter ice has rearranged the rocks on the bottom, sediment has accumulated and changed the course, ever so slightly.

The scene above, would be typical of an April day along the creek, as the spring runoff concludes and the sediment levels decrease, the creek becomes clearer and the rainbow trout begin their annual run to spawn. But, this is March and the trout are not quite ready, but the water awaits, cold and clear. The coltsfoot and bloodroot will begin to bloom, signalling the start of the run. I imagine, if the air stays mild, that will be within the next few days and I look forward to seeing life returning to this magical place.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 95 mm
1/10 sec, f/22, ISO 250

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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