Wild arctic grayling work their way upstream, into the spring current of a small, unnamed spawning stream in western Montana.
Behind the lens.
As our neighbor says, Montana is 10 months of winter followed by 2 months of bad sledding. But the poor sledding is more than made up for by the amazing wild lands and wildlife that surround us.
Take the rare Arctic Grayling, for example. In our neighborhood, there is a tiny trickle of water that swells up in the spring melt-off to become a bonifide creek (or "crik," depending on where you grew up). Part of the rhythm of our lives here is the return of the Grayling each spring to spawn in this unnamed creek. Tracy and I have more or less adopted this little natural wonder, and we get to help when the state biologists come here to collect Grayling eggs to raise and transplant into other lakes and rivers.
To provide a sense of the wildness in this photograph, I positioned the camera lens to be partially above water and partially below water, so that you get a feel for the underwater and streamside habitats that the fish need. I used a remote camera with a long "extension cord," and then sat back among the trees and waited for the Boys (and Girls) to arrive...
A female arctic grayling swims upstream through a small set of rapids.Montana's Grayling swim upstream each May to spawn in small creeks.
A large westslope cutthroat trout — Montana's state fish — works his way into the current of a shallow spawning stream.