A spawning scene of Colorado River Cutthroat Trout, depicting a flaring male and two hens. The name is a play on words to both say they shouldn’t be fished during the spawn (no strings attached) and because they’re spawning and they don’t form pair bonds. (no strings attached).
I had a lot of fun on this one and learned a ton about water reflection/refraction. It took a long time and several repaints to get the water just right.
As with anything, the painting looks better in person and doesn’t translate very well on a computer screen. But alas, it’s the best I can do.
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!