Fall marks the annual Kokanee run and also, some of the most epic Bull Trout action all season! As the spawning Bulls drop back down river, they are met by hordes of spawning Kokanee Salmon, the perfect bite-sized snack to regain their strength after the rigours of passing on the torch to the next generation. Bullies gorge themselves and fish can double their weight in just a few short weeks, preparing them for the long winter.
Because Bull Trout don’t spawn every year, the non-spawning fish will get in on the action sooner than the ones that are spawning that year. These fish pile on the weight very quickly as they gorge on Kokanee salmon. They are typically bright silver with shades of green, blue, and violet. These fish will be the spawners the next year, having stockpiled extra weight and stored fat to last them through the rigours of migrating to the spawning grounds and the spawning act.
The spawners in contrast will still be sporting some of their colour, although it starts to fade once spawning has finished. These fish will typically not spawn the following year and will take the year to regain their weight and heal any injuries they endured during spawning.
Chrome Non-Spawning Bull
Dropback Spawning Bull
I wanted to do a special piece of art that illustrated this annual event and thus, the River Wolf shirt was born. Bull Trout are truly incredible apex predators and their ferocity is very shark-like when they turn on the feed!
I am very fortunate to have gotten to know some fantastic people in the fishing industry and the Bathgate family of ReelFlies are some of the best people around! I fully support Canadian businesses and especially those who support keeping things made in Canada. Unlike many other businesses that offer fishing flies, ReelFlies uses only Canadian tyers and the highest quality materials and hooks! I have so much respect for Steve and his family and when they asked if I’d be interested in doing up something for them I was honoured! I wanted to do something up special and really try to give them my best.
I decided on a Brook Trout which is not only one of my favourites but is also one of the mainstay target species for many of the ReelFlies’ following. This is to date my most detailed piece I’ve ever done and is 100% digitally drawn. The detail isn’t really shown unless you zoom in and see all the scale and fin detailing.
Thank you Steve, Ceri, Hayley, and the rest of the family. =)