Eagle Lake and the McCloud River, California

Over twenty years of flyfishing and painting in California, Eagle Lake became my favorite stillwater and the McCloud river my favorite trout stream. Each presents difficult challenges and can reward with larger trout than would satisfy any angler even in Alaska or Montana. Through happenstance these works were done back to back on the same paper, and I have created a frame to display them both.

Shadow of a Storm, Eagle Lake, California

Fishing at the north end of Eagle Lake, you can see the incoming storms as they approach. Hail, snow, or if you are lucky only rain will fall but it will be driven sideways by the cold northwest wind. Yet the fish often bite best as the storms approach and even as they pour down with rain or pummel you with sleet or snow. Casting can be difficult and boating deadly, but in a place where the average trout is four pounds we put up with a lot.

On this day I was in the canoe, a short safe swimming distance from shore on a weekend that had produced only sparse action, while my friends were on a run to town. As the storm approached I had three good hits on my trolled fly, three fish hooked and three escaped, each throwing the barbless hook at close range. The storm was still a ways off as Daver and Karen returned with a glazing of slush along the windshield and insisted on packing up the camp and getting out before the snow hit. Outvoted, I unrigged and packed up but as the storm lingered and fidgeted on its path towards us, I painted a quick one.

Original watercolor 6" x 9"

And on the other side...

McCloud River 1999

A friend of a friend, Mark Tompkins, had moved to California and had long held a reverence for the beautiful McCloud river rainbow trout that over the last century have been stocked worldwide. Together we enjoyed fishing for these fine ambassadors of Calfornia trout fishing in their native stream. As usual the mornings and evenings held the most promising fishing and provided time for a watercolor. Inadvertently I used the back of the Eagle lake painting in my watercolor book.

Original watercolor...6" x 9"...

I have built a custom frame to enclose this combination these back-to-back impressions of my two favorite California fly fishing locations, sandwiched between white museum mat and nuetral grey accent mat. You can display either side, and alternate as your mood shifts to enjoy the finest of California stream and lake fishing locations. I will include a signed copy of the August 2000 issue of California Fly Fisher magazine in which Mr. Tompkins' story about our trip to fish and paint on the McCloud was published....$600.

Contact me at mvart@vinsel.com