Tag Archives: Trout

“The Final Stretch”

“The Final Stretch”

“Are you tired? Are you feeling that you will not be able to reach your destination? Then all you have to remember is that those who reached their far and hard destinations also felt the same way on their way! Knowing what others felt will give you a great power to complete your journey!” 
― Mehmet Murat ildan

I was looking for a suitable quote for this image and Mehmet always seems to have something that resonates with me.

The journey of the countless rainbow trout up Duffins Creek every April fascinates me. Since I saw salmon spawning in BC, these mass migrations have been a thing of wonder. The distance the fish travel, through almost insurmountable obstacles; strong currents, shallow water, and tangles of fallen tree limbs, to name only a few.

Yet, they persevere and most make it to the destination. In this case, a large dam that separtarates the introduced rainbow trout from the native brown trout. It’s at this dam that I witness the greatest ‘stretches’ as the trout leap high in the air, hoping to conquer the dam, to no avail. It’s their final stretch, literally, as they extend their brightly coloured bodies through the air. Once they figure they can’t go any further upstream, they spawn in a deep pool at the base of the dam, and make the return journey to Lake Ontario, this time, with the current to their favour.

In case you are wondering, I sat on a rock near the base of the dam for about an hour, waiting for just the right moment, and testing my reflexes, to make several images and settling on this one, which nicely shows the colour of the trout as the sunlight shines on its outstretched body. Also an act of perseverance.

If you like this image, I made another one similar to it, 3 years go, in the same location.

https://edlehming.wordpress.com/2015/04/17/rainbow-trout-jump-whitevale-dam-pickering-ontario/

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 200mm
1/2000 sec, f/5.0 ISO 250

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

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“Start of the Spawn”

“Start of the Spawn”

“Give a man a fish, and you’ll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll buy a funny hat. Talk to a hungry man about fish, and you’re a consultant.”
― Scott Adams

With vegetation emerging and the ground warming, all the elements are aligned for the beginning of the annual Rainbow Trout on Duffins Creek. It has started, ever so slowly, the water a bit murky with spring runoff, but it has started.

There is a real pleasure for me to witness this large migration from Lake Ontario, many miles below, up Duffins Creek and the many obstacles along the way, to the waters above Whitevale, where they spawn and eventually return to the lake.

This one is the first real opportunity which presented itself. Though the lighting was not ideal, it’s still a nice representation of these beautiful fish. More to follow.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 200 mm
1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/EdLehming
or my website (some images available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

“Trout Lily”

“Trout Lillies” - Stoffville Reservoir

“Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine to the mind.”
― Luther Burbank

The Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum) is among my top ten spring plants. It looks almost tropical, with its spotted leaves and bright flowers, yet it grows in abundance in the moist woodlands of south-central Canada.

It’s an interesting plant, as there are often vast patches of Trout Lily with no blossoms at all. The young plants are sterile and have only one leaf. The mature plants have two leaves and bear a single blossom. It’s also known locally as Dog-Tooth Violet, though I prefer Trout Lily myself, as I believe it’s the white variety Erythronium albidum that actually resembles a tooth, but who am I to argue with local tradition? The name Trout Lily comes from the spotted leaves which resemble a trout’s skin and seems so much more appropriate to me.

When entering the forest, the Trout Lily is tough to spot, then you see one, and then another, each seemingly trying to outdo the last in their beauty, the forest floor a blanket of green wild leeks with spots of yellow everywhere. I love this time of year.

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

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/EdLehming
or my website (some images available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

“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

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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or my website (some images available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

“Duffins Creek Rainbow Trout”

“Duffins Creek Rainbow Trout”

“I could wade into this river, let my sins drown to the bottom, let the waters carry me someplace far. Someplace with no ghosts, no memories, and no sins.”
― Khaled Hosseini

In what has become a springtime ritual for me, since discovering the phenomenon, some 20 years after living here, is walking the shores of Duffins Creek, near the town of Whitevale, and enjoying the annual trout run from Lake Ontario, to the Whitevale dam, where I have had some success photographing the trout trying to scale the ten foot tall dam.

To my observations, the run is not triggered by a particular week in the calendar, water temperature, or how clear the water is. The ‘run’ seems to to triggered by some combination of the hours of sunlight and daytime temperatures. Only the trout know what causes this urge to migrate upstream.

Along the shores of this creek grows a plant known as coltsfoot. It’s a small yellow flower, resembling a stunted, thick stemmed dandelion. The first blossom of this spring plant coincides perfectly with the trout run. We’ve had a mixed bag this spring, with temperatures early in the month above normal, yet the coltsfoot was not blooming, until recently. Low and behold, the trout have returned to the river for their annual pilgrimage to the dam. As noted above, the dam is ten feet tall and designed to keep this introduced species from migrating up the river and feeding on the native brown trout.

While they had not made it to the dam yet, I certainly enjoyed seeing the flashes of colour in the water as they fought their way past the current. I’m hoping to get back in the next few days to photograph the jumping.

The trout pictured above was hovering in the current in a relatively shallow part of the creek, providing me the opportunity to make a nice image, showing all his bright colours and patterns.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 135 mm
1/50 sec, f/3.5, ISO 250

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/EdLehming
or my website (some images available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

“Morning Trout Lilies” – Stouffville Reservoir

“Morning Trout Lillies” - Stouffville Reservoir

What the heck, two posts in a day isn’t so bad, is it? After all, I missed Friday. I could not resist posting this photo of the Trout Lilies I mentioned on my previous post. There’s a regular cluster I go to every year and they never disappoint. It was earlier in the morning and they are not quite open yet. Give it a few hours and there will be several delicate bell-shaped flowers showing.

I’m hoping to get out again tomorrow to capture them in bloom and will share that image too.

This is one of my favourite times of year. Following the cycles of the plants and the emerging growth fascinates me. Out of dead-looking ground and grey branches come perfectly formed and fresh growth, year after year.

Nikon D300
Nikor 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 240 mm
1/60 sec @ f/5.6, ISO 250

“The Struggle”

“The Struggle” - Rainbow Trout run at Whitevale, Ontario

On the spring theme of the Rainbow Trout spawn that occurs every year in this area, here’s a slightly abstract image of a trout mid-run up Duffins Creek, near Whitevale, Ontario. The image above is a time exposure of a single trout swimming against a particularly strong current at a point where the clear water in the foreground is mixing with water contaminated with clay, caused by the spring melt run-off from an adjacent bluff.

The dark and barely discernible shadow of the trout hangs suspended above the rocks as the water flows rapidly around him. He appears, for the moment, to be running against the odds. The reality of the image is that the fish is actually ‘stuck’ as the world around him rushes by; neither progressing nor loosing ground. He’s in a transition between clear and murky, movement and stasis.

In the end, he broke though and continued his journey up-stream, though that outcome seems uncertain at this moment in time.

Nikon D300
Nikor 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 125 mm
1/8 sec @ f/4.8, ISO 250