Take photos of the scenery, not the fish while on the boat

2017 MAY 11: Pack trip into the Gila Wilderness in southern New Mexico.

What I’m about to say might bother some people and as a professional photographer for over 20 years I can’t believe I’m even thinking about saying it.

It’s time to stop taking photos of our fish while in the boat.

We’ve all seen and read the news of temporary restrictions on rivers like the Upper Colorado, the Beaverhead and the Jefferson. This July has been particularly rough on fish within many drainages, which is why it’s time to ditch the hero shots or even the fishing altogether if the restrictions advise us to do so.

Besides, taking photos of fish from the boat is nearly impossible while trying to maintain a good fishing ethic. Often, fish are netted and need to be hoisted well above the water for the photograph to be made. Because space is limited on many boats there’s not much to work with as far as good angles.

 I’d advise enjoying your time studying the hydrology of the river or watching a particular eddy to see what is rising for the bug of the day. Store those images and memories in a journal with flow levels, weather and water clarity to be put to good use down the line when the fish aren’t stressed by the extreme summer temperatures that are creating unsustainable water temperatures this July.

Of course, I’m not telling anyone what to do. These are merely suggestions for how we, as anglers and boaters, set a good example to our children and friends while out enjoying a fine summer day on the rivers we love.

On the bright side you can sit back and enjoy your float without having to untangle your friend or kids knots all day long. There’s something to be said about enjoying those small moments as well.