Digital SLR cameras and catch and release don’t get along

Tonight I went out with KP to a remote spot on the Willamette in order to shoot some photos and try to catch some trout that I’d heard were coming up from a certain reservoir and into the stream. I brought a handful of small fish (top photo) to the surface with a size 10 Madam X in the first hour we were there, and then out of the big current came a giant trout.

Fly Fishing Oregon

This may have been the biggest wild trout I’ve ever caught (steelhead not included). I saw the huge white mouth open up and swallow the floating dry, and it took me at least ten minutes to land it on my 5x tippet.

This was  a monster trout — had to be two feet long with big chalky-red cheeks. It was a magazine cover rainbow.

I had my clunky Canon Digital SLR, and I’d set it up for my girlfriend to take some pictures. But instead of trusting her to take decent photos, I lost my mind.

I took the camera from her, handed her the rod and pulled the monster trout toward me by the tippet. As you can guess, the trout took another run and broke me off before I had a chance to snap a single frame. Luckily, Katie had taken a couple of shots while I was reeling it in (see below). But I’m still sick to my stomach.

The one that got away

I’ve been rationalizing: If I’d had it in my hands I would have stressed the fish and practically killed it after taking so many photos. Or, if the shot was really good I’d be tempted to use it in a story and blow one of the last great wild trout fisheries in the state.

If I don’t have the photo, does it really count? And who’s counting? Probably a couple guys in my TU Chapter.

I love photography, but with this digital SLR I can’t take photos and fish at the same time. And almost no one else I’m with knows how to use the damn thing. For fishing trips, point-and-shoot cameras are the way to go from now on.


About mstansberry

Matt Stansberry currently lives in Eugene, Oregon with his wife and son.
This entry was posted in Oregon Fishing, photos, willamette river. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Digital SLR cameras and catch and release don’t get along

  1. i have a great picture of a splash about to drench my rebel. if you look closely you can see a blurred steelhead tail.

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