Dreaming of Silver


This past September, I was a able to take advantage of a week of no rain to take footage of the first pod of steelhead that moved in to the local streams. This promises to be one of our better years, as steady precipitation has arrived early and fish are found throughout the streams.

I think you’ll enjoy this 7 minute video providing a rare opportunity to see clearly how steelhead behave in a shallow pool.


Salmon River and Recovery Therapy 2013

Nothing much has changed at the Salmon River this year but every trip remains memorable. Upon getting off the exit, Jim Hurtgen  got some flies at Whitakers and then we headed to Fox Hollow Lodge. We got dressed quickly and headed down to the river deciding to check our rooms later. We walked down the well-worn path and headed downstream below the Refrigerator Pool (apparently titled for a refrigerator that years ago used to be located on the island next to the pool). We tried several different flies and then I remembered the tip from the guide at Whitakers: use drab flies. The salmon have seen a lot of colorful flies and patterns and will be weary of anything with color.

After ignoring his advice for 20 mimutes, I looked through my two fly boxes and found an old sculpin fly that never worked on the Canadaway. The first time I swung to a salmon, I noticed that he nudged away from the fly. I removed the white rubber legs and she took it on the next swing.

It was so heavy I could not lift it with one hand and had to lay it on my knee. I released the fish and returned to the run where I landed another one soon afterwards.

Diego sheepishly came over wondering what I was using.  We switched rods and while I was tying on another fly on his rod, he had a fish on.

We both broke off my last two remaining patterns. After wondering where Jim had gone, I went back and tried to see how he was doing. We met on the path and headed back to our productive run but had no more luck. We decide to go back to see what are $50 dollar rooms had purchased.

The entrance

Diego and I shared a room

The kitchen

Overall, it was a well worth money especially since the aesthetically pleasing Hotel 8 was around $118. We will consider it again next year especially if we can get the whole crew together.


The next morning we headed to Douglaston Run. I had high hopes of swinging to energetic salmon who would chase my streamers after being encouraged by the same guide from Whitakers. We found a nice secluded section by the Clay Hole and found a steady number of salmon staging in a shallow pool before running up the next gravel run. We had little luck however. Jim was the only one who as able to land a salmon although  we do not have any documentation of his feat. Diego had a few on and landed a few questionable fish with flies close to the fish’s mouth. I also had a couple on a small angel hair streamer but the flies popped out soon after seeing their jaws shaking and coming out of the water.

Overall is was a little bit disappointing but it was a beautiful day and we were entertained by each other’s company and the spectacle of the moving salmon even if they were not moving toward our flies.

The next morning, Sunday, while Janeil was taking the kids to
church, I looked over the bridge to find a couple of small pods
of steelhead. I droppped any plans of working in the studio and
headed to the water with rod in hand.

While fishing, I saw a weasel working its way upstream until it ran right across from me. I had never seen one on our local streams. About 10 years ago, I saw an ermine, a weasel with its white winter coat, chasing steelhead under the ice on 20 Mile Creek in Pennsylvania but that’s as close as I had gotten to one.

Diego met me on the stream and we fished together. After I was not able to get a steelhead to take my fly at the Hornet’s Nest Pool, he made a perfect roll cast and the fish took his fly. He landed it but it squirmed away on the bank  before we were able to take a picture. It was very exciting and was very proud of him.

This beauty came from another pool that chased the fly several yards before hammering it.  It was a bit shocking and refreshing after fishing to sluggish monsters the day before…… It will take us a year to recover from our latest trip to the Salmon but we will be back next October with restored optimism….and more sculpin flies!

Work published in recent Drake Magazine and Gray’s Sporting Journal

I just heard that a recent painting was published in the this month’s  issue of Gray’s Sporting Journal (see above) and a couple of weeks ago I learned that an essay I wrote about my Aesthetics of Death Series and a couple of paintings would be published in the March issue of the Drake magazine. The Drake’s website will also be showing more of the paintings from the series.

Artwork in Italian Rod Making Magazine

This past summer, we took our kids to Italy to attend an exhibition of my work at the American Embassy in Vatican City (Holy See) in Rome. As part of the trip, we went to Pompeii, Tuscany (San Sano), Florence and Venice. Before we went, I set up a guided fly fishing trip in Tuscany for my son and I on the Tiber River. I was very excited to connect with a different part of Italy and to expand my research on my Biological Regionalism Series. The series uses videos, paintings and artifacts to connect audiences to local and global environment.

I was very fortunate that Janeil found Moreno Borriero as our guide (http://www.mbrods.it/) while she was researching our trip. When I went to his website, I noticed that we shared interest in conservation and fly fishing and we even looked similar: short, stocky and handsome.



During our time on the Tiber River, we had an opportunity to discuss our lives and interests and we were soon on the topic of the bamboo rod making magazine that he was instrumental in creating. Below is a link to the publication that featured some of my paintings from the Catskills, Bamboo Journal. The magazine is published by the Italian Bamboo Rodmakers Association.

The highlight of the day was watching my son standing in the headwaters of the Tiber as he cast to rising fish. It is one of the many memories from the trip that is embedded in my mind.


Great trip to the Grande Ronde River in Oregon

This past October, a group of friends and I went to meet an old friend, Jad Donaldson, who had become an accomplished guide in the Northwest. This was a wonderful opportunity to catch up while continuing with my research on my recent body of work called Biological Regionalism. The series incorporates landscapes, paintings and videos of specific areas around the world and the indigenous fish species found in its waters. When the series is exhibited together, it tries to connect audiences with local and global environments.

Here is a link to the video I created to document the trip for the gang:

Steelhead trip to Grande Ronde, Oregon from Alberto Rey on Vimeo.


Small Stream, Small Pool / Large Fly, Large Fish

Last year I documented a small pool full of steelhead in one of my favorite little streams. I had been meaning to put this little video together then but somehow the files got lost and I was just recently came across it.

The fly used was a 2/0 white marabou streamer with olive and black ostrich herl on the back. The silver tinsel is from a spool of yarn that I have been using for several years now. The hook had a clouser eye and four glass beads that made the fly heavy but it cames down into the water flat and fast. The barbless hook always rides up so and is fished just above the fish so that it minimizes foul hook-ups. This also provides some entertaining scenes of steelhead coming up to take the fly as you will see in the video. I usually use smaller, sparsely-tied flies as the water clears…. somethings using a size 12 hook.

A nice release.

A couple of weekends ago, we had gin-clear water conditions on the local streams that made for some difficult fishing although we somehow managed to have a banner day. My client that day was a student that I had taught over twenty years ago outside of Boston, Massachusetts. When I saw this grown man it became clear that I was getting old. The water conditions made for some wonderful underwater footage of him releasing his steelhead.


Steelhead Log Jam

This past weekend, while on a guide trip, I came across a pod of steelhead trying to moving up into the falls of a small little Lake Erie tributary. A large tree had fallen in their path and there was little I could do but take some footage of their predicament.

A seven-year old fisherman on Little Canadaway Creek

I was looking for some images for a proposal and came across some interesting footage and photo of Diego and I out on a walk on Little Canadaway on brisky sunny winter day back in 2008. We found a piece of ice caught perfectly in the current so that it spun continually and a few minutes later, the young man landed a steelhead.