Tag Archives: salmon

We Tyee Three

After all the compliments and much love I got from the walleye and lake trout pieces that I did in this style, I wanted to pay homage to one of the most iconic gamefish in North America. From the Great Lakes to the West Coast, and even down in New Zealand and Argentina, the Chinook or aptly crown King Salmon! Chrome bullets made of solid muscle and built for the open ocean, these masters of the sea attract anglers from all over in search of the greatest salmon honour, the legendary Tyee! A 30lb+ King!

“We Tyee Three”
19×24″ Acrylic on Birch

we tyee three

Now available on EP!C Arthouse branded shirts!
https://www.epicarthouse.com/collections

“Passing the Torch” Award Winning

I got the news right after the judging that my piece was chosen to represent the Pacific Salmon Foundation and will be featured on the 2017 BC Saltwater Fishing licenses! It’s hard to comprehend that I won on my first time entering, but I guess I brought a fresh new style to the competition.

A visual tale of the fragile circle of life of Pacific Sockeye Salmon. Their entire lives are destined for this moment in time, to pass on their genes to the next generation.┬áThe astonishing journey they take is nothing short of epic. They easily could cop out and spawn closer to the sea, but they seemingly take an impossible route to get back to their spawning grounds. Truly one of nature’s spectacles.

Salmon are one of the most important fish in the west. They feed many different species and bring nutrients to rivers that wouldn’t otherwise be capable of sustaining life. Bears, wolves, and eagles, also carry salmon carcasses away from the rivers which provide nutrients for trees and plant life surrounding the rivers. They truly are incredible animals, and that’s why organization like the Pacific Salmon Foundation are so important to help bring awareness of the status of our salmon species and to take action to help restore their spawning areas.

This 19.5 x 27″ piece took over 100 hours to complete. I chose to use acrylics on native BC douglas fir board to render this idea into a reality.

I got the news right after the judging that my piece was chosen to represent the Pacific Salmon Foundation and will be featured on the 2017 BC Saltwater Fishing licenses! It’s hard to comprehend that I won on my first time entering, but I guess I brought a fresh new style to the competition.

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2017-2018 Salmon Conservation Stamps!

Koke Addict – in progress

This piece has been sitting unfinished since May. This summer has been insanely busy with buying a house, moving, and guiding up in the Arctic. I’m hoping to get back to working on it in the next month or so. In the meantime, I’ll be working on the Pacific Salmon Federation stamp piece.

Koke Addict

Spawning Bull Trout and Kokanee

Fall is dominated by hues of orange and red. From the fiery mountain sides to the blue streams dotted with red, fall is a time of death and recreation. As the leaves change, so do the fish and here in the mountains, this means spawning trout and salmon.

Although some species of trout spawn in the spring, Char spawn in the fall. The fluvial populations migrate upstream to their spawning creeks from the lakes they call home. During this feat, bull trout change from their silver non-breeding colours to their vibrant breeding colours. This transformation results in crimson bellies highlighted with white edged fins.

At the same time, Kokanee Salmon too migrate into the creeks to spawn, undergoing a similar transformation. Normally a silver fish, Kokanee transform into vibrant crimson accented with green heads and white lower jaws. Unlike the Bull Trout which return to the lake after spawning, Kokanee Salmon, like all Pacific Salmon species, die after spawning.

At all times of the year, Bull Trout feast on Kokanee Salmon. From creek mouth ambushes on new Kokanee fry, to open water assaults, to gauntlets of hungry mouths as the Kokanee try to travel upstream to spawn, the cat and mouse game is constant. Co-dependant species, the Bull Trout keep the Kokanee numbers in check, while the Kokanee allow the Bulls to get to truly impressive sizes. Sadly, in much of their range, populations are declining due to habitat loss especially in their native spawning creeks, as well as competition from other species that have been introduced.

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This piece meant a lot to me, going back to my roots of how I started with fish art. Inspired by such artists as Joseph Tomelleri, Flick Ford, and Paul Vecsei, I loved how detailed and precise their works were. Being detail obsessed myself, I emulated my style after theirs. As years went on, I ventured away from the illustration style, invoking a much more action packed style. Despite my artist evolution, I have always been a huge fan of my idols’ work and this piece signifies that respect for them and their talent.

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To this day, after fishing in some of the most incredible waters in Canada for so many amazing native species, I still hold Bull Trout in the highest regard. I have so much respect for these fish and the stunning, pristine waters that they inhabit. Since moving to BC, it has been amazing to be able to chase these piscivores locally and see them in their home waters. There’s nothing more exhilarating having a big bull swipe at your fly seemingly out of nowhere. Their appetite is impressive and there is almost no fly too big to toss for them. I’ll normally use a heavily weighted 8-12″ fly that I’ll swing thru the current.

Being ambush predators, Bulls almost always bite best in the early hours or just as the sun starts going down. Casting at midday is usually futile. Bull Trout will simply hold in a seam and wait for dusk. During these times, a perfectly drifted stonefly nymph may entice them for a midday snack, but typically they won’t even react. I have seen however, these sedentary Bulls spark up when a hooked Cutthroat is struggling on the end of your line. Like a shark smelling blood in the water, you can see the body language instantly change and watch them go into hunting mode.

Here in Golden, BC, September marks the Kokanee Salmon spawning migration, and one of the best times of the year to fish for Bull Trout. As the bright red little salmon begin their migration, the Bull Trout gorge on the hordes of easy meals. At this time of year, Bull Trout can get to blimp status as they stuff themselves with as many little salmon as they can.

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“Running the Gauntlet”

“Running the Gauntlet”
36″ x 18″
Acrylic on Canvas

Finally I’ve put down the brush and call it complete. The inspiration behind this piece is based from my personal experience here in British Columbia last fall. We witnessed big predatory bull trout hunting spawning kokanee salmon in the crystal clear glacial waters around here. It was something I won’t soon forget and look forward to the event again this year.

For those who aren’t familiar with these two species, they are both endangered in much of their home waters. Habitat loss has been a huge contributing factor to the demise of both species. British Columbia is regarded as one of the last great strongholds for these stunning mountain salmonids.

This was my first big painting and really enjoyed the journey. It was an idea I had in my head for a while and I’m happy with how it turned out.

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“Running the Gauntlet”

Australian Salmon/Kahawai Skeleton

Australian Salmon / Kahawai Skeleton for Fishwreck Australia.
http://fishwreck.com.au

australian salmon skeleton

All Rights Reserved – Copyright Nick Laferriere – 2015

Steelhead Dreams

The latest fine art piece I put together. After I completed the Rainbow Trout piece for the Stamp Competition I received a lot of hype and interest from people wanting to purchase prints. Unfortunately I had to sign a contract stating that if I won all rights were to be owned by Manitoba Fisheries. So as to not disappoint too many people, I decided to do up a steelhead piece in similar manner.

I tried a few new things with this piece. For one, I wanted to reach out from the confines of a rectangular border. I achieved this by having different aspects coming out of the traditional frame.

Along the way there’s always obstacles and things I would change for next time. It’s always a new learning experience with every piece I do.

Steelhead DreamsOriginal Artwork by Nick Laferriere
Watercolour Pencils