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Old Apr 18, 2009, 4:19 PM   #1
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Every spring in late April, the rainbow trout that live in Lake Memphremagog (which straddles Vermont and Canada's Province of Quebec), run up the Willoughby River on their annual spawning run. Rainbow trout are not native to our area; they were brought in from western states in the late 1800s. Many rivers in Vermont are slightly too acidic for rainbows to spawn successfully, but the chemistry of the Willoughby river is a bit more alkaline than most. So this is one river with a self-sustaining rainbow population. (Eastern Brook trout, which are native to our region, can spawn in slightly more acidic water, so they are fairly prevalent throughout our area.)

For the last 12 or 15 years I've been stopping by the Willoughby whenever I'm in that part of the sate during spawning time. But until yesterday, I never visited while they were jumping. It's a remarkable sight. I always thought birds in flight were challenging,but these trout were much more difficult. They suddenly appear out of the frothy water, and almost every time before I could press the shutter button, they disappeared back into the raging water. I took hundreds of pictures yesterday, but only got these three which show jumping fish. They aren't great photos, but they were the best I got.


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Old Apr 18, 2009, 4:20 PM   #2
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Here's another. It's harder to see the fish, but it's there.
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Old Apr 18, 2009, 4:22 PM   #3
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And I got this one. The fish is partly blocked by the splashing water, but that's how it goes. At least this one shows a faint hint of a pink stripe on the fish, showing that it really is a rainbow trout.
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Old Apr 18, 2009, 5:23 PM   #4
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Very cool shots! The only other place I've see these types of images has been in National Georgraphic. I think you are in impressive company with these images!
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Old Apr 18, 2009, 6:11 PM   #5
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Very nice mtnman,
I think you did a marvelous job, knowing how difficult it must have been!
Kinda like shooting Purple Martins, them little buggers are fast! :G

GW:bye:
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Old Apr 18, 2009, 7:31 PM   #6
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Great images especially considering the difficulty of the subjects and setting. Seeing those fish makes me want to get my fly rod and waders outand hit the water - somewhere a little calmer than that section though.

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Old Apr 19, 2009, 12:25 AM   #7
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That first one is very good - it impresses me. Really, all three of them are nice, and I can imagine that it would almost be luck to capture one of them. I once tried to take a picture of a grebe - they would dive before I could focus. So I can't imagine being able to take pictures of jumping fish without being very lucky.
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Old Apr 19, 2009, 11:54 AM   #8
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Hi mtnman,

Really good stuff!!! Split second timing is very tough. . .

I just spent a couple of days trying to get shots of loons diving. The very slight delay before the shutter fires (added to my obviously deteriorated reaction time), even after AF lock, was long enough to throw off the timing so the results were a bunch of shots of water swirls.

Knowing what I know now, I'll probably use continuous shooting mode and let luck be the main determining factor. I think I'd do the same for these shots -- set up on a tripod in an active area, focus, then just hold down the shutter for 10-20 seconds at a time, then take a look and see what was captured. -- maybe not great technique, but I bet that there would be some surprises. . .

I'd also try a near ground level perspective (a weather sealed body/lens would probably be helpful) -- to see if I could get some of the fish against the sky.

Scott
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Old Apr 19, 2009, 2:38 PM   #9
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Cool shots. I can see why they were hard to get. All that action is beyond me.

I'll have to show these to my hubby when he gets back from checking out the local river. He's a fly fisherman.

Patty

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Old Apr 19, 2009, 9:26 PM   #10
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Thanks for your kind words everyone. as i said, I've been stopping y the river for many years during late April and early may, but this was the firs time I've ever had the good luck of being there when the fish were jumping the falls. It's an amazing sight.

Snostorm -- I agree a ground-level perspective would be very cool, but it's not possible in this area. This section of river is in a steep and narrow ravine. In order to get a shot of the fish with the sky in the background, I'd have to don scuba gear!

Patty -- the falls and the spawning waters above the falls are closed to fishing, but the river below the falls is open to fishing, and the fly fishermen (and women) are usually there in force. Years ago this river opened to fishing a couple of weeks before any other water bodies in the state, and I'm told that in those days the fishermen were standing shoulder-to-shoulder. Imagine trying to cast a fly line in those conditions!

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