Early on, I decided that fishing would be my way of looking at the world. First it taught me how to look at rivers. Lately it has been teaching me how to look at people, myself included.
... The Bible tells us to watch and listen. Something like this suggests what fishing ought to be about: using the ceremony of our sport and passion to arouse greater reverberations within ourselves.
The Longest Silence by Thomas McGuane
Who's Behind the Ecological Angler?
Michael Carl is a lifelong angler as well as a freelance writer and photographer. As a native Californian, he's carefully worked files in the Sierra Nevada, the Central Valley, and all along the Northern California Coast. He's fished most of California's rivers and caught all the state's unique species of trout.
His writing and photography have been published in American Angler, Bay Nature, California Fly Fisher, Earth Island Journal, FLY FISHERMAN, Northwest Fly Fishing, Outdoor Life, Revive, Salmon & Steelhead Journal, Smithsonian's Ocean Portal, Southwest Fly Fishing and TROUT Magazine. He focuses on rising awareness on the struggle of native fish to survive in a region where water and healthy ecosystems have become scarce.
Central California Coho
Today, fisheries biologists fear coho salmon have entered an extinction vortex along the Central Coast of California. Is extinction inevitable or can we recover their populations in time?
To understand both the challenges to their survival and the recovery efforts, writer and photographer, Michael Carl, travels up and down California's Central Coast exploring their natal streams, talking to scientists and fishermen, and working alongside fisheries managers at a conservation hatchery.
Download this ebook to your Apple iOS or Google Android tablet.
Showcasing California's most productive and scenic wild trout streams, read my latest book, Wild Trout - California's Top 10 Wild Trout Streams.
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!
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 - Hot Creek & a California Golden - highlight just two of their projects in the Golden State.
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 Magazine 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.
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.
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...
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.
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 strikin g the right balance.
Look for my photography in the article Wine, Water, Fish, and People in the Summer 2013 issue of TROUT.
The story puts a focus on the on-going effort to restore coho salmon on California's Russian River. As the Russian River flows through the heart of Wine Country it's an especially tough challenge. But, as you'll read the farmers and grape growers are looking for new ways to conserve water and restore critical spawning and rearing habitat for these endangered salmon.
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
Look for my photo 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 back into Pyramid Lake.
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 this classic steelhead water.
Look for my feature article - Secrets of the Sierras 4 Classic Walk-In Trips appearing in the May/June 2010 issue of American Angler.
You'll discover some terrific the wild trout fisheries of the Central Sierra Nevada.
Northwest Fly Fishing
I wrote a feature story for the January/February 2008 issue of Northwest Fly Fishing. The article covers the upper Merced River in Yosemite Valley flowing down through the Merced Canyon until it meets the South Fork of the Merced.
Another, shorter article I wrote appeared in the July/August 2007 issue of Northwest Fly Fishing. It's a piece about one of my favorite still-water destinations in the entire Sierra Nevada - Heenan Lake.
Southwest Fly Fishing
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.
I contributed a story for the January/February 2009 issue of Southwest Fly Fishing focusing on the Wishon Fork of the Tule River of California.
Arising from the high granite slopes of Moses and Maggie mountains in the Golden Trout Wilderness, this segment of the Tule River flows south and then west through a portion of the former Sequoia National Forest ...
I contributed a feature story for the November/December 2008 issue of Southwest Fly Fishing focusing on the Kings River of California.
It's ultimately a story of two different fisheries. Each reach impacted by vastly different management practices.
I wrote a feature story for the July/August 2007 issue of Southwest Fly Fishing. The article details a five day span spent angling for Kern River rainbow trout along the upper Kern River within the Golden Trout Wilderness.
- P. Moyle. 2002. Inland Fishes of California
- J. Voshell, Jr. 2002. A Guide to Common Freshwater Invertebrate of North America