Artwork in Gray’s Sporting Journal – March/April 2012


Here’s a two-page spread of a painting titled Biological Regionalism: Brook Trout III, Catskills, United States which appears in next month’s Gray’s Sporting Journal.  The painting was created for a solo exhibition at the Chace-Randall Gallery in Andes, New York. This wonderful little gallery has been representing my work for the past few years and has been exhibiting my paintings devoted to the trout and char species found in the Catskill streams. Check out their site for other examples of work from recent exhibitions.

Sometimes nature unveils itself.

Sometimes it seems that if you spend enough time in nature, you sometimes experience something rare that brings you little closer to the mystery of nature. This mystery is the unaccessible elements that seems to move away from us as we move through its environment. There are those instances, however, when if you stay long enough and remain quiet, nature moves back and envelopes you. These are those wonderful moments that remind you that you can be part of something much larger and spiritual. It brings you peace and reminds you to come back when you begin to lose perspective.

…and then there are those times when you have a camera and have a few seconds to document the moments when nature is completely accessible.

Here are a few of those events:

1. About 10 years ago, while fishing 20 Mile Creek in Pennsylvania in the dead of winter, a very rare white mink strolled down the bank, slid into the water and started chasing steelhead underneath the shelf ice in front of my feet.

After a few seconds of circling around the large rocks, he would slowly climb up the bank, shake himself off, look back at the fish and then slowly head back to the water to make another attempt at finding his dinner. This went on for about 10 minutes before he headed back into the woods to try another section of the stream.

He stay a few feet from me the entire time. I returned a week later and continued to do so for several years during the coldest days of the year in the hopes of seeing him/her again but always without success.

2. A few years later, while fishing a secluded section of Hosmer Creek, I had a fawn walk slowly through the woods and came out about 10 feet from me in the stream. We looked at each other for about 30 seconds and then  she slowly started moving closer to me. I was shocked and wondered how close she would get.

She didn’t seem nervous, just curious. I slowly got my camera and took this picture as she slowly turned, crossed the stream and headed back into the woods.

3. Around 6:30pm tonight, as I was heading home after an hour or two of scouting Canadaway Creek for a guide trip on Sunday, I took a short cut through the woods. As I turned into the trees,  a groundhog was right in front of me. He stood there perched on his hind legs patrolling the path.

After what seemed to be a few minutes of looking at each other,  I slowly searched for my camera and began taking pictures. After a couple of shots shot , I would take step toward him and take a few more pictures.

I continued to take shots until I got a couple of feet away. We continued to look at each other. The only thing moving on him was the fur on his chest as he inhaled and exhaled. After taking a short movie, I took my final step. He slowly went down on his fours and swaggered into the tall grass.



Lampreys in Canadaway Creek

Here’s an image of lamprey in Canadaway Creek in June 2011 and here’s a movie of the same lamprey.

During the past two centuries, invasive species have significantly changed the Great Lakes ecosystem. In turn, the changes have had broad economic and social effects on people that rely on the system for food, water, and recreation.

An “invasive species” is a plant or animal that is non-native (or alien) to an ecosystem, and whose introduction is likely to cause economic, human health, or environmental damage in that ecosystem. Once established, it is extremely difficult to control their spread.

At least 25 non-native species of fish have entered the Great Lakes since the 1800s, including round goby, sea lamprey, Eurasian ruffe, alewife and others. These fish have had significant impacts on the Great Lakes food web by competing with native fish for food and habitat. Invasive animals have also been responsible for increased degradation of coastal wetlands; further degrading conditions are resulting in loss of plant cover and diversity.

Sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) are predaceous, eel-like fish native to the coastal regions of both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. They entered the Great Lakes through the Welland Canal about 1921. They contributed greatly to the decline of whitefish and lake trout in the Great Lakes. Since 1956, the governments of the United States and Canada, working jointly through the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, have implemented a successful sea lamprey control program.

Here’s two lampreys on a steelhead at the mouth of Canadaway back in 2006.

and here’s the results of their destruction on the fish that survive. Image from June 2011.