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October 14, 2017 Lahontan cutthroat Going back to a Favoirte-Fall-Fishery

October 2017 Bristol Bay Alaska Pacific Salmon Runs The Great Salmon Place.

September 2017 Southwest September October 2017 Fly Fishing Magazine Cover Look for my photo essay on fly fishing the Mono Lake Basin along the Eastern Sierra in the September/October 2017 issue of Southwest Fly Fishing

August 2017 Midcurrent Logo Dawn Patrol at Pyramid Lake featured in Midcurrent Fly Fishing News

August 28, 2017 Whitehorse Creek Cutthroat taken on a parachute Adams. A small, isolated population of Whitehorse Creek Cutthroat quietly survive in the Coyote Basin.

July 26, 2017 Midcurrent Logo One of my favorite photographs featured in Midcurrent Fly Fishing News

July 2017 Southwest July August 2017 Fly Fishing Magazine Cover Look for my feature article on the Upper Middle Fork San Joaquin River in the July/August 2017 issue of Southwest Fly Fishing

June 18, 2017 Question from the EcoAngler Audience Question - are there Lahontans in the Tahoe Basin?

Summer 2017 Eyed eggs in a trout hatchery Coming soon... When it comes to breeding native trout, well success just keeps breeding.

Spring 2017 Fly Fisherman catches Pilot Peak Lahontan out of  Pyramid Lake Nevada. Continued cold inflows into Pyramid Lake keep fish & anglers smiling.

April 2017 Fish On Pyramid Lake Nevada. Haven't put a serious bend in your rod this winter? Here's a suggestion.

March 23, 2017 Knowing the surf conditions the day you go fishing is like knowing... So, do you know how many light-years to the Butterfly Nebula?

February 19, 2017 Redtail Surf Perch Barred Surf Perch Head to Head... Can you tell the difference between Barred Surfperch & Redtail Surfperch

February 2017 Jay Fair A Tribute to the One & Only Jay Fair.

January 2017 Winter Run Steelhead and a Coastal Creek A Chronicle of a Winter Run

Winter 2016 Coho Spawning December brought big rains to Northern California and with it some very welcome guests - coho spawning in Lagunitas Creek.

December, 23 2016 Fly Fishing on Lundy Lake Lundy Lake - like most gold rush camps, it went bust. They built a dam, created a lake, and now we come to fish.

November 2, 2016 Fly Fishing the California Surf Fly fishing the California Surf is similar to what they say about mountain trout streams - fish don't live in ugly places!

September 1, 2016 Surf Rat Fly Pattern on Reel When fly fishing for surf perch - ORANGE is the new Black.

Summer 2016 Revive Fly Fishing JournalLook for my essay - Rebuilding the Beast appearing in the Summer 2016 issue of Revive

July 10, 2016 Indian Creek Reservoir Indian Creek Reservoir is stocked with Lahontans and rainbows where damsels emerge in huge numbers.

June 2016 Fly Fisherman Magazine Look for my photography on fly fishing California's Lower Yuba River in the June/July 2016 issue of FLY FISHERMAN .

May 2, 2016 Pyramid Lake Lahontan 2016 When Fishing Pyramid Lake You Pray for the Wind to Blow (unless you are in a boat).

April 16, 2016 Goose Lake Trib Creek Fly Fishing Some native redband are tucked away in the far upper right-hand corner of California.

March 8, 2016 South Fork Eel River Is it any wonder why steelhead & anglers return to these epic rivers along California's North Coast each and every winter.

March 4, 2016 Pyramid Lake Fly Fishing Winter 2016 As Spring approaches my thoughts turn to A High Desert Lake with Monster Lahontans.

February 17, 2016 Yale Climate Connections The California Godlen Trout is in Hot Water.

Winter 2016 Trout Magazine Winter 2016 Look for my photography in the feature story The Complicated Relationship Between Beavers & Trout in the Winter issue of TROUT.

January 2, 2016 Trinity River Steelhead on the Fly Steelhead and the importance of rain harvesting.

December 2015 Fliegen Fishchen Cover 2016 Check out my photography in the article Die Gold Nuggests der Sierra Nevada.

November 10, 2015 Smithsonian Institution LogoRead my latest story on the Smithsonian's Ocean Portal Surf Fishing in a Golden State.

October 21, 2015 Earth Island Journal Report on California Golden TroutRead my story in the Earth Island Journal on the threat cows pose to California golden trout.

Archive of Content


Looking for Wild Trout?

California Wild Trout Streams by Michael Carl

Available on Amazon Apple iTunes download Google Play download

Showcasing California's most productive and scenic wild trout streams, read my latest book, Wild Trout - California's Top 10 Wild Trout Streams.


By definition, ecological is the interactions and relationships between organisms and their environment. The science of ecology teaches the angler, it is impossible to separate the study of a species of fish such as trout from the study of their environment.

A good ecologist can dovetail into dovetail until the whole thing stretches out of sight. We call it an ecosystem now; earlier Americans called it the Sacred Circle. Either way it can make your little head swim with a vision of a thing of great size and strength that still depends on the underpinning of its smallest members.
Sex, Death, and Fly-Fishing
by John Gierach  

Freshwater ecology is a broad and complex science, and the scope of this site only allows a brief overview of the critical elements - Fly patterns (a.k.a. aquatic insects), Habitat and Species.

Fly Patterns

It starts with a trout's favorite class of food - aquatic insects. (Grasshoppers, ants, beetles, minnows and leeches are also on the menu here.) And in the case of the angler, the fly patterns which imitate these insects. The goal of the EcoAngler is to recognize the insects that freshwater trout survive on, and to the extent possible the ecology of these tiny creatures.

Trout Habitat

The EcoAngler focuses on trout habitat in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and Northern California. Each of the fisheries covered in habitat includes information critical to your angling success - such as fly patterns, map of area and flow information.


No species of fish has excited the freshwater angler through the years as the trout. California is home to two native trout species (rainbow and cutthroat) and numerous subspecies including California golden trout, Lahontan cutthroat and Kern River rainbow trout.

EBooks Reports and Reviews

As the author of several Ebooks, I document some of the West's most unique native trout and salmon fisheries. Extensive photography coupled with maps and access information provide the reader with a do-it-yourself guide to experience these fisheries.

Conservation Articles

TROUT Magazine

Trout Magazine 2016 Look for my photography in the feature story The Complicated Relationship Between Beavers and Trout in the Winter 2016 issue of TROUT.

Writer Philip Monahan reports on the ecological role of the beaver (Castor canadenis) in freshwater habitats. He writes: Aside from man, no animal has such a profound impact on its ecosystem, and many anglers see the beavers' work as predominately destructive--turning a babbling trout stream into a slow-moving wetland, for instance. However, wildlife biologists recognize that each of these "destructive" effects has a flip side...

Trout Magazine 2015 Look for my photography in the cover story State of the Trout in the Summer 2015 issue of TROUT.

The Trout Unlimited Science Team takes an extensive survey of native trout in the United States. The report includes chapters on the Pacific Coast, the Central Valley and Sierra Nevada, regions which have been plagued by drought in recent years. The report finds native trout throughout the West are in trouble due to the "one-two punch" of drought and hot temperatures throughout the region.

Trout Magazine 2014 Look for my photography in the article Walking A Trout Tightrope in the Spring 2014 issue of TROUT.

Writer Jay Cassell delves into the day's hot button issue - Is there a way to balance wild and hatchery trout in our nation's waters. Thankfully, after years of indiscriminate stocking, many state and federal agencies are reevaluating their policies. The future of wild salmon and trout populations will pivot on striking the right balance.

Bay Nature

Bay Nature Magazine A Quest for Coho

In this feature story for Bay Nature I put down my flyrod (just for a while) and do some research. Driven by curiosity about the coho salmon that once lived and spawned in the streams of the Santa Cruz and San Mateo Coast, I begin a three year quest to find them.

Learn what I discovered and meet some of the folks dedicated to helping this fragile population survive in the
October - December 2012 issue of Bay Nature.

Fly Fishing Articles


Revive Fly Fishing JournalLook for my essay - Rebuilding the Beast appearing in the Summer 2016 issue of Revive

The story is as much about the opportunity to catch a trout-of-a-lifetime, as it is about correcting the past of an ancient desert lake in Nevada.

Ultimately, it wasn't about breeding just any trout to stock into Pyramid Lake.

Southwest Fly Fishing

Southwest July August 2017 Fly Fishing Magazine Cover Look for my feature article on the Upper Middle Fork San Joaquin River in the July/August 2017 issue of Southwest Fly Fishing

If you’re a fan of catching wild trout surrounded by strange geologic formations, then you can’t do any better than fishing the Middle Fork San Joaquin River as it flows in, out, and through Devils Postpile National Monument.

Southwest September 2015 Fly Fishing Magazine Cover Look for my article on Heenan Lake in the September/October 2015 issue of Southwest Fly Fishing

Going to fish Heenan Lake can be risky. You might damage your rig getting down to the launch area. An angry confrontation over your personal fishing space could break out. So why take the risk? The answer seems clear to me - trophy size Lahontans.

Salmon & Steelhead Journal

Salmon & Steelhead Journal Look for my feature article on one of North America's finest steelheading rivers the - Rogue River - in the Spring 2012 issue of Salmon & Steelhead Journal.

With a focus on the middle Rogue, you'll learn effective techniques to fish thisclassic steelhead water.

American Angler

American Angler MagazineLook for my feature article - Secrets of the Sierras 4 Classic Walk-In Trips appearing in the current May/June 2010 issue of American Angler.

You'll learn about some terrific wild trout fisheries of the Central Sierra Nevada.


Southwest Fly Fishing

Southwest September October 2017 Fly Fishing Magazine Cover Look for my Exposure photo essay on fly fishing the Eastern Sierra around the Mono Lake Basin in the September October 2017 issue of Southwest Fly Fishing

The Eastern Sierra Nevada in the early fall explodes with color. Most of the creeks draining the eastern slope of the Sierra support healthy groves of aspen trees, and early October can be an amazing time to explore the Mono Basin with a fly rod and a camera.


Fly Fisherman Magazine

Look for my photography on fly fishing California's Goldfield Bows in the June/July 2016 issue of FLY FISHERMAN .

The Lower Yuba River's runs of wild steelhead trout and resident trout persist in a watershed that was driven like a rented mule. The discovery of gold in the Sierra Nevada in 1848 set in-motion habitat destruction on the Yuba on a grand scale. Despite the dams and hydraulic mining, aquatic insect hatches can be prolific. And where there is food, there are trout.


I'm truly fortunate to have my photography in the MidCurrent gallery! MidCurrent hosts a Who's Who of fly fishing photographers - I feel honored to be included as part of the display!

MidCurrent Fly Fishing Photography

Outdoor Life

Outdoor Life

Look for my photography on fishing for native golden trout in the September 2014 issue of Outdoor Life .

California Trout 2014 Calendar

I'm extremely fortunate to have a couple photographs selected by the staff at California Trout for their 2014 Calendar. The photographs they choose - a landscape of Hot Creek & a native California Golden - highlight just two of their projects in state.

California Trout 2014 Calendar Hot Creek Photo by Michael Carl

If you aren't already a member of CalTrout today, then consider becoming one to support their critical mission to protect and restore wild trout, steelehead, salmon and their home waters throughout California.

FLY FISHERMAN 2013 Photo Contest

Some detail on the photo - I fished a couple of days last September with my friend and guide Dennis Nagel on the Wood River in Southern Oregon. I've fished the Wood over the course of ten years. It's a beautiful stretch of spring fed water that runs north of Agency Lake in the Klamath Basin.

Fly Fisherman Magazine October December 2013

Enough said about the river ... As you can see in the photo detail, the drift boat is definitely hand crafted. I believe this one represents the third drift boat Dennis has built since I've known him. Dennis designed this boat precisely to float the Wood River. The Wood is a small, spring creek and has a few obstacles to get through including a really low bridge.

A huge thanks to Ross Purnell and the staff at Fly Fisherman for selecting this photograph and to the folks at Sage for putting the EVOKE reel in my steelhead arsenal.

Photo Gallery