TROUT Magazine

What’s your favorite TROUT magazine cover from the past 10 years?

Our team at TROUT magazine likes to think that people can judge a magazine by its cover … at least in part.

The cover image sets the tone for everything that follows, so we put a lot of collective thought into our choices. Sometimes we want to provoke you. Sometimes we want to cause you to wonder “what is that all about?” And sometimes, we just want to make you smile. 

We always endeavor to make a statement. For example, because we think fishing is about a whole lot more than just the fish, did you notice that we went two years without putting a fish on the cover? People, of course, are the driving force behind conservation, as are the ways people express themselves through original art. That is why you’ve seen portraits and paintings in the mix.

Our resident award-winning photographer Josh Duplechian does a great job explaining why covers happen in his “Behind the Cover” series and I encourage you check those out when you can.

As we approached my 40th cover TROUT, I asked the editors which covers they liked best, and they came up with these. Please scroll through for the backstory on each cover, then go onto TU’s Instagram channel this week to vote on which one is your favorite.

Visit TU’s Instagram page this week to vote on your favorite TROUT cover!

Summer 2013.

We never do “grip-&-grins” but we love fishy detail images, particularly release shots.

Winter 2016. 

This was actually photographer Tim Romano’s daughter Mabel’s second appearance on the cover of TROUT. Do you remember the first? (Hint: a similar image is on the ad on the back cover of the current issue.)

winter 2016

Spring 2016. 

Love the image of casting, minus the water, just a beautiful field of wildflowers that spoke of “spring” and anticipation of what might be ahead.

spring 2016

Fall 2016.

I don’t know what prompted the laughs. Did someone fall out of a boat into that cold, gray water? Punt the fish? Maybe I don’t want to know. But it was a fun image that spoke the season.

fall 2016

Winter 2017. 

Right in the middle of the years-long fight to protect Bristol Bay from the proposed Pebble Mine, we wanted to pay heartfelt respect and appreciation to the native Alaskan communities who shouldered that challenge above all others. Not only did we commission native artist Apayo Moore to create this cover, we also changed the “TROUT” banner to “TALAARIQ,” which is the word for “trout” (specifically, rainbow trout) in the Bristol Bay Yup’ik dialect.

Spring 2017.

Every once in a while, we need to focus on the fish … literally. We particularly liked how the eye makes it seem like the fish is staring down the reader.

spring 2017

Fall 2018.

True story—the cover-picking process is usually something like this: Our art director, Jim Gray, reads through the feature stories, and comes back at me with a dozen or so different options, all laid-out and in full color. I usually send the cover option files on to my editing team of Samantha Carmichael and Erin Block, and usually our senior producer Josh Duplechian, and sometimes I’ll ask a “guest editor” for input. Meanwhile, I like to print them out and lay them all on my dining room table (my desk is too cluttered) and soak them all in to form an opinion.  This time, as they were all laid out on the table, my wife, Sarah, walked through the room, took one look at little Lyla Blue Guymon going “bendo” on a big trout, pointed at this cover and said, “You’d be nuts if you didn’t run this one.” So it was decided, right there. She was right, of course, and we got a ton of good feedback on this one.

Summer 2019.

There’s something about the beauty of bugs … at least in the minds of anglers. Bugs are also very important telltales regarding the health of an ecosystem. You’re going to want to stay tuned for the Winter 2022 issue of TROUT and Shauna Stephenson’s in-depth piece on something that’s affecting the insects in and around our nation’s rivers and streams.

What’s that you say? You missed these covers?  You can make sure you don’t miss a future issue of TROUT by joining Trout Unlimited today.

Fall 2020. 

We just really loved the composition of this one, and the sunburst made it all pop.

Winter 2021.

When we decided to snap the streak of eight consecutive covers of TROUT magazine without an image of a trout, we wanted a snappy action image, and Matt Guymon delivered with this scene from the Snake River. And we knew we would be coming back to the Snake later in the year, so this was a teaser of sorts.

Spring 2021.

Artist Alana Louise Lyons reached out to me to let me know she had done a bandana design for REI, and that some of the proceeds from that would go to TU. Not only did I think that was an incredibly kind thing to do, I started looking at her work, and was floored by how talented she is. Then she told me about her own quest to catch native fish all over the country, and I commissioned her to do a story, and the cover. It turned out better than my wildest hopes.

By Kirk Deeter.