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November 10, 2015 Smithsonian Institution LogoRead my latest story on the Smithsonian's Ocean Portal Surf Fishing in a Golden State.

Fall 2015 Indian Creek Reservoir Coming soon...A stillwater stocked with Lahontans and rainbows where damelflies emerge in huge numbers.

October 21, 2015 Earth Island Journal Report on California Golden TroutRead my story in the Earth Island Journal on the threat cows pose to California golden trout.

September 21, 2015 Wild Rainbow Trout Carson River A long awaited trip back to the Carson Iceberg Wilderness.

September 2015 Southwest September 2015 Fly Fishing Magazine Cover Look for my article on Heenan Lake in the September/October 2015 issue of Southwest Fly Fishing

August 18, 2015 Fly Fishing the Lower Owens River Wild Trout Section In 1971, the California Wild Trout Program was created. The next year, 16 miles of the Lower Owens River got added.

August 4, 2015 Striper Fishing the California Surf Wanting to fish through California's hot & dry summer? Hit the beach.

August 2015 A grizzly bear eats a salmon from a Creek in Alaska Crossing boggy, tundra meadows to fish for big bows and dollies in the backcountry of Alaska's Bristol Bay region.

July 14, 2015 Fly Fishing the Sierra Nevada Dedicated to the heart & soul of California's trout streams - The Sierra Nevada Mountains.

July 2015 Trout Magazine 2015 Look for my photography in the cover story State of the Trout in the Summer 2015 issue of TROUT.

May 21, 2015 Ghosts of Lake Lahontan Emerging as Pyramid Lake cutthroat Visiting the Ghosts of Lake Lahontan.

May 6, 2015 Floating the Lower Mokelumne River A float down a Central Valley trib of the San Joaquin River reveals unexpected wildness from above and below.

April 14, 2015 Drought impact on East Fork Walker River The Drought puts a HURT on the Walker.

March 22, 2015 Fly Fishing Yosemite National Park Rivers Yosemite's Wild & Scenic Fly Fishing

March 3, 2015 Pleased to report long-time friend & fishing-compadre Kurt Peterson is on The Board!!!

February 8, 2015 Wild California Coastal Steelhead The Trinity River shows a bit more of its wild side in 2014 - 2015.

January 4, 2015 Coho Spawning December brought big rains to Northern California and with it some very welcome guests - coho spawning in Lagunitas Creek.

November 20, 2014 Fishing Lee Vining Creek Feed by snow melt from Mt. Dana, this big creek in the Mono Basin has been harnessed for water and power, but is now getting restored.

October 29, 2014 Heenan Lake Fishing 2014 Heenan Lake 2014 - More Grabs & Less Green Stuff. And is the Drought to Blame or Praise?

October 13, 2014 Oregon Summer Steelhead The EcoAngler travels north in search of Hot Summer Steelhead on the Lower Deschutes River.

September 2014 Outdoor Life Look for my photography on fishing for native golden trout in the September 2014 issue of Outdoor Life .

August 26, 2014 Ranch Property in Oregon becomes Redband Trout Reserve Creating a Stronghold for Redband.

July 17, 2014 California golden trout A long-awaited return to Golden Trout Creek.

June 12, 2014 West Fork Carson River The West Fork of the Carson River is popular road-side fishery not far from the blackjack tables of Lake Tahoe.

May 6, 2014 Rim Fire An important bit of info if you are planning to visit the Clavey River.

April 4, 2014 Trout Magazine 2014 Look for my photography in the article Walking A Trout Tightrope in the Spring 2014 issue of TROUT.

March 2014 California Trout 2014 Calendar A couple of my photographs were selected by California Trout for their '14 Calendar. March features a landscape of Hot Creek & April shows a native California Golden. Please support the good work being done by Cal Trout!

February 27, 2014 Water and the California Dream As drought settles over California - time to take a long and hard look at the state's water-supply crisis.

February 4, 2014 Free living or green sedge caddis. Using Little Green Men to abduct trout from rivers throughout North America.

January 15, 2014 Drought spells serious trouble for coho looking to spawn on Central California creeks. D-r-o-u-g-h-t spells serious trouble for coho looking to spawn on Central California creeks.

December 20, 2013 Fishing for Science on Heenan Lake California.
I went Fishing for Science.

December 15, 2013 Restoration Creek A different kind of restoration story for the Holiday. Hope you enjoy and have a safe and Merry Christmas with loved ones.

November 11, 2013 The Owens River flows through a flat high desert valley of grasses and sagebrush. Like a bear following the smell of bacon into a big cylinder welded to a truck trailer, I came to learn the wonderful access and open back-cast of the Upper Owens River is a bit like the bear-trap.

October 15, 2013 Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River Yellowstone Cutt Country is the homeland to it's namesake trout, and a country under siege.

October 3, 2013 Ansel Adams Wilderness The Ansel Adams Wilderness encompasses the headwaters of one of the finest wild trout rivers just east of the Sierra crest.

Archive of Content


New Book - Wild Trout

California Wild Trout Streams by Michael Carl

Available on Amazon Apple iTunes download Google Play download

Showcasing California's most productive and scenic wild trout streams, read my latest book, Wild Trout - California's Top 10 Wild Trout Streams.

The Nature of Fly Fishing

It's less about how to cast further, or increasing the number of fish landed, and more about increasing the angler's knowledge of the species, the environment he inhabits, and what he likes to eat (real or inmitated). That's the main goal here.

A good ecologist can dovetail into dovetail until the whole thing stretches out of sight. We call it an ecosystem now; earlier Americans called it the Sacred Circle. Either way it can make your little head swim with a vision of a thing of great size and strength that still depends on the underpinning of its smallest members.
Sex, Death, and Fly-Fishing
by John Gierach  


By definition, ecological is the interactions and relationships between organisms and their environment. It comes from two Greek words: oikos meaning "the family household," and logy, meaning "study of." The science of ecology teaches the angler, it is impossible to separate the study of a species of fish such as trout from the study of their environment. Freshwater ecology is a broad and complex science, and the scope of this site only allows a brief overview of the critical elements - Fly patterns (a.k.a. aquatic insects), Habitat and Species.

Fly Patterns

It starts with a trout's favorite class of food - aquatic insects. (Grasshoppers, ants, beetles, minnows and leeches are also on the menu here.) And in the case of the angler, the fly patterns which imitate these insects.

The goal of the EcoAngler is to recognize the insects that freshwater trout survive on, and to the extent possible the ecology of these tiny creatures.

Trout Habitat

Trout are coldwater fish and take up residence in streams, ponds, and lakes that have cold water year round and provide enough food and oxygen to survive. The initial focus of the EcoAngler is trout habitat in the Sierra Nevada and Northern California.

Each of the fisheries covered in habitat includes information critical to your angling success - such as fly patterns, map of area and flow information.


No species of fish has excited the freshwater angler through the years as the trout. California is home to two native trout species (rainbow and cutthroat) and numerous subspecies including California golden trout, Lahontan cutthroat and Kern River rainbow trout.

EBooks Reports and Reviews

Michael Carl is a lifelong angler as well as a freelance writer and photographer. His writing has appeared in outdoor/nature magazines focusing on California's rivers and their native fish.

As the author of several Ebooks, Michael details some of the West's most unique native trout and salmon fisheries. Extensive photography coupled with maps and access information provide the reader with a do-it-yourself guide to experience these fisheries.

Native Fish of the Golden Trout Wilderness

Information found in Fly Fishing the Golden Trout Wilderness will help

California's Golden Trout Wilderness is home to three unique forms of native trout, and you'll find descriptions for each of these trout in my new eBook - Native Fish of the Golden Trout Wilderness.

Native Trout Waters of California

Native Trout Waters of California

Nearly three years in the making - pouring over survey data, sorting through photographs, and of course, spending time fishing each of these amazing waters which support populations of California's native trout.

The EcoAngler Reports

The EcoAngler Reports In pursuit of the California Heritage Trout Challenge or just looking to chase down some native trout in a remote and wild place? Now you can access any of the EcoAngler Reports here....

I just wanted to drop you a line to say thanks for your help and resources in aiding new fly fishers. I decided to pursue the Heritage Trout Challenge about this time last year.

Your reports and guides were very useful in aiding me to fulfill this task.

Rich Moore  

Conservation Articles

TROUT Magazine

Trout Magazine 2015 Look for my photography in the cover story State of the Trout in the Summer 2015 issue of TROUT.

The Trout Unlimited Science Team takes an extensive survey of native trout in the United States. The report includes chapters on the Pacific Coast, the Central Valley and Sierra Nevada, regions which have been plagued by drought in recent years. The report finds native trout throughout the West are in trouble due to the "one-two punch" of drought and hot temperatures throughout the region.

Trout Magazine 2014 Look for my photography in the article Walking A Trout Tightrope in the Spring 2014 issue of TROUT.

Writer Jay Cassell delves into the day's hot button issue - Is there a way to balance wild and hatchery trout in our nation's waters. Thankfully, after years of indiscriminate stocking, many state and federal agencies are reevaluating their policies. The future of wild salmon and trout populations will pivot on striking the right balance.

Trout Magazine Look for my photography in the article Wine, Water, Fish, and People in the Summer 2013 issue of TROUT.

The story puts a focus on the on-going effort to restore coho salmon on California's Russian River. As the Russian River flows through the heart of Wine Country it's an especially tough challenge. But as you'll read, the farmers and grape growers are looking for new ways to conserve water and restore critical spawning and rearing habitat for these endangered salmon.

Bay Nature

Bay Nature Magazine A Quest for Coho

In this feature story for Bay Nature I put down my flyrod (just for a while) and do some research. Driven by curiosity about the coho salmon that once lived and spawned in the streams of the Santa Cruz and San Mateo Coast, I begin a three year quest to find them.

Learn what I discovered and meet some of the folks dedicated to helping this fragile population survive in the
October - December 2012 issue of Bay Nature.

Fly Fishing Articles

Salmon & Steelhead Journal

Salmon & Steelhead Journal Look for my feature article on one of North America's finest steelheading rivers the - Rogue River - in the Spring 2012 issue of Salmon & Steelhead Journal.

With a focus on the middle Rogue, you'll learn effective techniques to fish thisclassic steelhead water.

American Angler

American Angler MagazineLook for my feature article - Secrets of the Sierras 4 Classic Walk-In Trips appearing in the current May/June 2010 issue of American Angler.

You'll learn about some terrific wild trout fisheries of the Central Sierra Nevada.

Southwest Fly Fishing

Southwest September 2015 Fly Fishing Magazine Cover Look for my article on Heenan Lake in the September/October 2015 issue of Southwest Fly Fishing

Going to fish Heenan Lake can be risky. You might damage your rig getting down to the launch area. An angry confrontation over your personal fishing space could break out. So why take the risk? The answer seems clear to me - trophy size Lahontans.

Southwest Fly Fishing Magazine Cover I contributed a story for the January/February 2009 issue of Southwest Fly Fishing focusing on the Wishon Fork of the Tule River of California.

Arising from the high granite slopes of Moses and Maggie mountains in the Golden Trout Wilderness, this segment of the Tule River flows south and then west through a portion of the former Sequoia National Forest ...

Southwest Fly Fishing Magazine Cover I contributed a feature story for the November/December 2008 issue of Southwest Fly Fishing focusing on the Kings River of California.

Broken down into two classic reaches: the lower Kings River below Pine Flat Dam, and the upper Kings River above Pine Flat Reservior.

It's ultimately a story of two different fisheries. Each reach impacted by vastly different management practices.

Southwest Fly Fishing Article featuring Golden Trout Wilderness and Kern River Rainbow

I wrote a feature story for the July/August 2007 issue of Southwest Fly Fishing. The article details a five day span spent angling for Kern River rainbow trout along the upper Kern River within the Golden Trout Wilderness.

Northwest Fly Fishing

Northwest Fly Fishing Magazine Cover Another, shorter article I wrote appeared in the July/August 2007 issue of Northwest Fly Fishing. It's a piece about one of my favorite still-water destinations in the entire Sierra Nevada - Heenan Lake.

I contributed a feature story for the January/February 2008 issue of Northwest Fly Fishing. The article covers the upper Merced River in Yosemite Valley flowing down through the Merced Canyon until it meets the South Fork of the Merced.

Northwest Fly Fishing Article featuring the Wild & Scenic Merced River



I'm truly fortunate to have my photography in the MidCurrent gallery! MidCurrent hosts a Who's Who of fly fishing photographers - I feel honored to be included as part of the display!

MidCurrent Fly Fishing Photography

Outdoor Life

Outdoor Life

Look for my photography on fishing for native golden trout in the September 2014 issue of Outdoor Life .

California Trout 2014 Calendar

I'm extremely fortunate to have a couple photographs selected by the staff at California Trout for their 2014 Calendar. The photographs they choose - a landscape of Hot Creek & a native California Golden - highlight just two of their projects in state.

California Trout 2014 Calendar California Trout 2014 Calendar Hot Creek Photo by Michael Carl

If you aren't already a member of CalTrout today, then consider becoming one to support their critical mission to protect and restore wild trout, steelehead, salmon and their home waters throughout California.

FLY FISHERMAN 2013 Photo Contest

Some detail on the photo - I fished a couple of days last September with my friend and guide Dennis Nagel on the Wood River in Southern Oregon. I've fished the Wood over the course of ten years. It's a beautiful stretch of spring fed water that runs north of Agency Lake in the Klamath Basin.

Fly Fisherman Magazine October December 2013

Enough said about the river ... As you can see in the photo detail, the drift boat is definitely hand crafted. I believe this one represents the third drift boat Dennis has built since I've known him. Dennis designed this boat precisely to float the Wood River. The Wood is a small, spring creek and has a few obstacles to get through including a really low bridge.

A huge thanks to Ross Purnell and the staff at Fly Fisherman for selecting this photograph and to the folks at Sage for putting the EVOKE reel in my steelhead arsenal.

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