The Ecological Angler by Michael Carl

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Clients Include


Trout Unlimited Logo

California Trout Logo

American Fisheries Society Logo

Altitude Network Logo

Backpacker Logo

California Fly Fisher Magazine Logo

Flyfisherman Magazine Logo

Midcurrent Logo

Northwest Fly Fishing logo

Outdoor Life Logo

Southwest Fly Fishing logo

Smithsonian Institution Logo

NOAA Fisheries Logo

National Wild and Scenic River System Logo

University of California Logo

Western Rivers Conservancy Logo


Alaska Magazine

American Angler Magazine

Bay Nature logo

Earth Island Journal

Northwest Fly Fishing logo

Southwest Fly Fishing logo

Salmon & Trout Journal logo

Salon logo

Smithsonian Institution Logo



Early on, I decided that fishing would be my way of looking at the world. First it taught me how to look at rivers. Lately it has been teaching me how to look at people, myself included.

... The Bible tells us to watch and listen. Something like this suggests what fishing ought to be about: using the ceremony of our sport and passion to arouse greater reverberations within ourselves.

The Longest Silence by Thomas McGuane


Who's Behind the Ecological Angler?

Michael Carl is a lifelong angler as well as a freelance writer and photographer. As a native Californian, he's carefully worked files in the Sierra Nevada, the Central Valley, and all along the Northern California Coast. He's fished most of California's rivers and caught all the state's unique species of trout.

A 7 pound steelhead landed on the Trinity River

His writing and photography have been published in Alaska, American Angler, American Fly Fishing, Bay Nature, California Fly Fisher, Earth Island Journal, Fisheries, FLY FISHERMAN, Northwest Fly Fishing, Outdoor Life, Salmon & Steelhead Journal, Smithsonian's Ocean Portal, Southwest Fly Fishing and TROUT Magazine. He focuses on rising awareness on the struggle of native fish to survive in a region where water and healthy ecosystems have become scarce.


Central California Coho

Central California Coho book by Michael Carl

Today, fisheries biologists fear coho salmon have entered an extinction vortex along the Central Coast of California. Is extinction inevitable or can we recover their populations in time?

To understand both the challenges to their survival and the recovery efforts, writer and photographer, Michael Carl, travels up and down California's Central Coast exploring their natal streams, talking to scientists and fishermen, and working alongside fisheries managers at a conservation hatchery.

Download this ebook to your Apple iOS or Google Android tablet.

Central California Coho book Apple iTunes download Central California Coho book Google Play download

Wild Trout

California Wild Trout Streams by Michael Carl

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

Available on Amazon Apple iTunes download Google Play download

Environmental Articles & Photography

Fisheries Magazine

Fisheries Magazine February 2020 I'm extremely honored to have the American Fisheries Society publish my photograph of a Lahontan Cutthroat on their February 2020 issue of Fisheries Magazine!

The February issue features a story on the continuing success of wild reproduction of Lahontan cutthroat trout in the Truckee River.

TROUT Magazine

Trout Magazine 2018 Look for my photography in the feature story highlighting TU's 20th Anniversary of the North Coast Coho Project in the Summer 2018 issue of TROUT.

The article details Trout Unlimited's groundbreaking conservation partnership with a private timber company on California's North Coast enters its third decade restoring and protecting critical habitat for coho salmon and steelhead.

Trout Magazine 2016 Look for my photography in the feature story The Complicated Relationship Between Beavers and Trout in the Winter 2016 issue of TROUT.

Writer Philip Monahan reports on the ecological role of the beaver (Castor canadenis) in freshwater habitats. He writes: Aside from man, no animal has such a profound impact on its ecosystem, and many anglers see the beavers' work as predominately destructive--turning a babbling trout stream into a slow-moving wetland, for instance. However, wildlife biologists recognize that each of these "destructive" effects has a flip side...

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 strikin g 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 Russian River Coho Feature Photo Look for my coho salmon photography in the Winter 2023 issue of Bay Nature Magazine. The feature story covers how the Russian River watershed could restore healthy runs of coho salmon.

A large infusion of federal dollars is funding a last-ditch effort to bring coho salmon back to life through out the Russian River.

Bay Nature Magazine Summer 2023 Cover Look for my rainbow trout photography in the Summer 2023 issue of Bay Nature Magazine. The story covers one of the largest creek restoration proj ects in the East Bay Regional Park District.

The resurrection of Alder Creek - bringing over half a mile of a once-buried stream back to life.

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

Alaska Magazine

Alaska Magazine June 2022 Cover During a 70-mile river float down Alaska's Goodnews River I witnessed one of the earth's greatest wildlife pageants. Within weeks of ripening blue-berries, crimson red sockeye had pushed into the upper reaches of our destination in the Togiak Wilderness. For over a week I watched predators and scavengers find their way down to the river to feast off the bounty of these migrating sockeye.

Camping on gravel bars each night, giving space to feeding brown bears and fishing for salmon and Dolly Varden is partly what the essay is about.  Look for my story in the June 2022 issue of Alaska Magazine and read about an untouched Alaskan wilderness.

Northwest Fly Fishing

Northwest Fly Fishing Magazine July 2018 Cover Look for my feature article on Fly Fishing the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River in the July/August 2018 issue of Northwest Fly Fishing

Our country's greatest proponent of experiencing wilderness, John Muir wrote in The Yosemite, Every one who is anything of a mountaineer should go on through the entire length of the canyon, coming out by Hetch Hetchy. There is not a dull step all the way. And I would add the fishing in the Tuolumne River isn't bad either.

Northwest Fly Fishing Article featuring the Wild & Scenic Merced River

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

Southwest Fly Fishing

Southwest July August 2017 Fly Fishing Magazine Cover Look for my feature article on the Upper Middle Fork San Joaquin River in the July/August 2017 issue of Southwest Fly Fishing

If you’re a fan of catching wild trout surrounded by strange geologic formations, then you can’t do any better than fishing the Middle Fork San Joaquin River as it flows in, out, and through Devils Postpile National Monument.

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.


Revive Fly Fishing JournalLook for my photo essay in the Summer 2016 issue of Revive

The story is as much about the opportunity to catch a trout-of-a-lifetime, as it is about correcting the past of an ancient desert lake in Nevada.

Ultimately, it wasn't about breeding just any trout to stock back into Pyramid Lake.

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 this classic steelhead water.

American Angler

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

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

Fly Fishing Photography

Southwest Fly Fishing

Southwest Fly Fishing Exposure Photo Essay on Fly Fishing Pyramid Lake Nevada

Look for my EXPOSURE on fly fishing for Pyramid Lake's Lahontans in the January/February 2020 issue of Southwest Fly Fishing.

Southwest May June 2019 Fly Fishing Magazine Cover Look for my native cutthroat photography in the Exposure Section of the May / June 2019 issue of Southwest Fly Fishing

The photographs include a Lahontan cutthroat native to the Tahoe Basin of California, a Whitehorse Basin cutthroat from the southeast corner of Oregon, a Yellowstone cutthroat, and a Pilot Peak strain Lahontan from Pyramid Lake Nevada.

Southwest Fly Fishing Exposure Photo Essay on California Surf Fishing

Look for my EXPOSURE photo essay on fly fishing the California Surf in the January/February 2019 issue of Southwest Fly Fishing

Southwest Fly Fishing Magazine March April 2018 Cover I contributed photography for a feature story on the Tuolumne River Meadows Section in the March / April 2018 issue of Southwest Fly Fishing

Yosemite National Park is home to a vast and healthy population of wild trout. And if you're a fan of catching wild trout in one of the Sierra Nevada's most scenic alpine meadows, then Tuolumne River through its namesake meadow has got the goods.

Southwest Fly Fishing Magazine November December 2017 Cover Look for my photograph of a California Golden in the FishEye two page spread of the November / December 2017 issue of Southwest Fly Fishing

I photographed this California Golden Trout in it's namesake creek - Golden Trout Creek. As the early evening sun dropped, the light softened and this golden turned perfectly in front of the camera capturing the sunlight along it's body. Their colors are striking and I hope you get the chance to see one first-hand!

Southwest September October 2017 Fly Fishing Magazine Cover Look for my Exposure photo essay on fly fishing the Eastern Sierra around the Mono Lake Basin the September October 2017 issue of Southwest Fly Fishing

The Eastern Sierra Nevada in the early fall explodes with color. Most of the creeks draining the eastern slope of the Sierra support healthy groves of aspen trees, and early October can be an amazing time to explore the Mono Basin with either a fly rod or a camera.


Fly Fisherman Magazin

Look for my photography on fly fishing California's Goldfield Bows in the June/July 2016 issue of FLY FISHERMAN .

The Lower Yuba River's runs of wild steelhead trout and resident trout persist in a watershed that was driven like a rented mule. The discovery of gold in the Sierra Nevada in 1848 set in-motion habitat destruction on the Yuba on a grand scale. Despite the dams and hydraulic mining, aquatic insect hatches can be prolific. And where there is food, there are trout.