Engbretson Underwater Photography

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News From Behind the Scenes at Engbretson Underwater Photo and Stories about the Freshwater Environments We Visit.

Friday, November 30, 2012

"Where Can I Buy the Fish of the Northern Lakes Calendar?"

Today, I got a phone call from a woman interested in buying my Fish of The Northern Lakes 2013 Calendar as a Christmas Gift for her grandson. She asked if the calendar was available at any retail locations or just on-line.  There are in fact a few retail locations where you can buy the calendar, so I thought it might be a good idea to list them here:

1)Florence Natural Resources Center-Florence, WI
2)North Lakeland Discovery Center, Manitowish Waters, WI
3)Legend Lake Lodge, Keshena, WI
4)Great Lakes Aquarium, Duluth, MN
5)Great Lakes Visitor's Center, Ashland, WI
6)Kyle's Framing & Gallery, Marion, IA
7)Book World Stores in:
  • Iron Mountain, MI
  • Eagle River, WI
  • Minocqua, WI
  • Marquette, MI
  • Ironwood, WI
  • Ashland, WI
The Fish of the Northern Lakes 2013 Calendar is available online at many web store locations.  The main ones are Amazon, EBay and on my own on-line order page here.
Order online by Thursday December 20 to insure arrival before Christmas.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Get 12 months of Fish and Free Shipping!

Now through Christmas, we're offering FREE shipping on our Fish of The Northern Lakes 2013 Calendar.  Buy four calendars or more and get FREE Priority Mail Shipping (usually 1-3 days) on your order.  To get your calendars with free shipping click hereFish of The Northern Lakes 2013 is the perfect holiday gift for fisherman and fish lovers!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Underwater in the Ozarks

Scuba Diving in the Jack's Fork River, Missouri (c)Engbretson Underwater Photography

I've just returned from a very interesting trip to the Ozark Mountains of Southern Missouri and Northern Arkansas, home to some of the most famous and scenic rivers in middle America.  All of the rivers where I scuba dived were ultra-clear and filled with as diverse a fish community as I've seen anywhere.  I especially enjoyed the Black and Current Rivers in Southeast Missouri, and Arkansas's legendary Buffalo and White Rivers. 

On all of my dives, I encountered longear sunfish, smallmouth bass, and redhorse suckers.  In some of the rivers I found walleye, rainbow trout, spotted and largemouth bass, channel catfish, chain pickerel and white crappie.  A local favorite called the goggle eye (we call them rock bass up north) didn't seem as common.  Up north, it's not unusual to see dozens of them around a single piece of structure.  In The Ozarks, I only saw a few and they tended to be alone and hiding in root wads or under rock ledges.  Unlike the Great Lakes Region, in the Ozarks they're a legitimate sport fish and have a minimum 8 inch size limit in some areas.  Another fish that gets significant pressure are redhorse suckers where "giggers" can take up to 20 a day during the fall spearing season.  While I saw plenty of those, I never saw a fish that was over 16 inches.  A conservation officer I met on the Meramec River told me that most of them get harvested before they can reach their potential.  In Wisconsin and Michigan, I often see large redhorse of 10 pounds.  I'm told in the Ozarks, this would be rarer.          

The rivers were teaming with a multitude of shiners and darters of every color of the rainbow.  Seeing that splash of brilliant color along the river bottom was impressive and that alone made the trip worthwhile.   We have a few rivers in Wisconsin that have the same kind of diversity, but the difference is that in the Ozarks, the water is so clear that scuba divers and snorkelers can see and enjoy all the fish that inhabit these pools of crystalline water.  In Wisconsin's St. Croix, Menominee, Rock and Wisconsin Rivers, the coca-cola colored water makes this impossible, which is unfortunate because they all contain impressive fish communities. 

While my home waters will always be the glacial lakes of Wisconsin and Michigan, the crystal-clear rivers of the Ozarks have captivated me and I plan to return often to explore them and to photograph their fish.  If you're familiar with the area and are feeling kind, please drop me a line and suggest a place you feel would be worth seeing.  I've just begun to explore this area underwater and I know I've just touched the edge of what's there.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

New: Fish Jerseys With Underwater Fish Photos!

I'm excited to be partnering with Valley Fashions for a unique line of tournament fishing apparel.  Valley Fashions is an established leader in their industry and is one of the top suppliers of high quality jerseys, sweatshirts, hoodies and other outdoor wear for tournament fisherman.  My underwater fish images are now available on an exclusive line of fishing wear.  It's important for tournament fisherman to stand out in a crowd. And since they're always looking for unique ways to brand and display themselves and their sponsors, wearing authentic underwater photo images of the fish they're pursuing is a new and novel way to do that. (Plus, it just looks cool!)

One of the different styles and images now available in the Eric Engbretson line of officially licensed apparel from Valley Fashions.

The Eric Engbretson line of licensed apparel isn't just for the pros though-anyone can own this one-of-a kind outerwear.  For more information or to order, contact Valley Fashions here.  To download a PDF product sheet, click here.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

AFS Conference in St. Paul

Lindsey Bock, from Southern Illinois University Stops By Our Booth at the 2012
American Fisheries Society Conference in St. Paul, MN

Just back from the AFS conference in St. Paul-the world's greatest collection of fish scientists, where we were selling our new Fish Of The Northern Lakes 2013 Calendar.  Thanks to everyone who stopped by our little stand to say hi.  It was great meeting so many new fish people and seeing many old acquaintances again.  Especially encouraging was meeting so many of the young graduate students who are on their way to becoming our fish managers of tomorrow. They all seem to have youthful energy, dedication, passion, and they have some brilliant and fresh ideas about improving ways to best manage and protect our fisheries.  I can say without hesitation that the future is in capable hands.   

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Smallmouth Bass Posing

It seems every time I get in a lake these days, I'm greeted enthusiastically by one or more smallmouth bass that follow me around where ever I go.  Smallmouth bass are without a doubt the most curious and social fish I encounter when I'm exploring lakes.  Divers will often report how the smallmouth will trail them around like puppies.  Probably, they're interested in the "little snacks" that are stirred up by a diver's "fin wash".  Some bass will even take live food, like crayfish right from your hand. 

One one lake I like to frequent, I'm met by the same bass on every visit.  (He's easily identified by some unusual scars and marks.)   Today I decided to take  a snapshot of us posing together.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Michigan Free-Diver and Underwater Photographer Chris Morey Joins the Team!

Walleye-Grand Traverse Bay, MI (c)Christopher Morey/Engbretson Underwater Photo
I'm really excited to announce the addition of Christopher Morey to our team of talented underwater photographers here at Engbretson Underwater Photography!  Chris is a skilled free-diver who can hold his breath for 4 minutes!  As you can imagine, this unique ability which represents decades of training can really come in handy when photographing fish.  Since Chris dives without scuba gear, he can silently approach fish without expelling noisy air bubbles which disturb and frighten them.  He's able to stay on the bottom motionless for long periods of time waiting for fish, or move silently among them and be accepted as if he's "one of the school".  Needless to say, this unique skill enables Chris to get some truly exceptional photos especially of fish that are ordinarily wary of divers. 

I'm thrilled to be representing the underwater photography of Christopher Morey which can be licensed for editorial and commercial purposes on my website.  You can view more of Chris's work in the Christopher Morey Gallery on my website.  Chris joins Paul Vecsei, Roger Peterson, Isaac Szabo and myself on the "dream team" here at Engbretson Underwater Photography.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Fish of the Northern Lakes 2013 Calendar

Cover of Fish of the Northern Lakes 2013 Calendar
Something I'm going to be talking about often in the next few months is my new Fish of the Northern Lakes 2013 Calendar.  Printed by Willow Creek Press, one of the nation's most prestigious calendar companies, this beautiful wall calendar (13" x 21" when fully open) features twelve of my favorite fish images taken underwater in the lakes of Wisconsin.  I'm so excited to be able to offer this calendar at such an affordable price to all the people who have expressed an interest of owning some of my photography.  The calendar sells for $14.99 (plus shipping) and is available now on Amazon.com.  Just click here to order from Amazon.com, or use the buy butom below to order directly from me.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Artificial Fish Habitat

A cluster of Fishiding structures 
David Ewald is the inventor of FishidingFishiding is artificial fish habitat made from unwanted vinyl material destined for landfills.  Fishiding manufactures a variety of structures of different sizes and for different purposes, from large fish-crib like structures for game fish to small "cradles" for fry and juvenile fish. 

David sent me a sampling of his products to test out and photograph.  The structures were placed in a nearby lake in early May, and one in shallow water was immediately appropriated by a largemouth bass who has since built a nest next to it, successfully spawned and is now guarding fry adjacent to the protection the structure provides.

As summer progresses I'll try to document the different fish that use Fishiding and observe how they relate to it.  To view more of my underwater images of Fishiding structures underwater, click here. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Our Roster is Growing!

Longnose Gar-Buffalo River, Arkansas (c)Isaac Szabo/Engbretson Underwater Photography

Here at Engbretson Underwater Photography, we're quietly assembling what might be the greatest team of freshwater fish photographers in the country.  Our newest star to the team is Isaac Szabo from Arkansas.  Isaac takes exceptional underwater images from the many clear streams, rivers  and lakes of Arkansas and Missouri.  His photography of many of the colorful fish native to the Ozarks region is simply outstanding!  I'm really delighted to have Isaac on board as his images cover a unique niche and region in underwater photography.  You can see more of his images in the Isaac Szabo Gallery on my website.

Isaac joins Paul Vecsei, Roger Peterson and myself on the "dream team" here at Engbretson Underwater Photography

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Beginners Guide To Underwater Photography in Your Own Backyard

Snorkeling a small, clear stream (c)Eric Engbretson
When you think of underwater photography, the image that readily comes to your mind is probably one of coral reefs on distant tropical islands. You may also think of complicated scuba diving equipment and expensive underwater cameras. While you marvel at the underwater photos in magazines like National Geographic, it seems impossible to imagine that you could ever take a truly stunning underwater picture yourself without all the training, equipment and travel that surely must be involved. But the fact is that taking great underwater pictures is a solid reality. And you can take these pictures in your own backyard with a minimum of equipment or investment. 

Underwater Pictures in my own backyard? At first you may think this sounds silly. “There aren’t any sharks, whales, sea turtles or coral reefs where I live. Where could I take underwater pictures?” While there may not even be an ocean within hundreds of miles of where you live, there is certainly water. Our humble little lakes, creeks and streams may not be as intriguing as the Mexican Riviera or Florida Keys, but they’re teeming with life just the same. In their own way, they’re remarkably exciting ecosystems worthy of exploration and photography. You just need a camera, some modest snorkeling equipment, and a few expert tips that will instantly give you outstanding results that will delight all your friends.

Today’s digital cameras are highly sophisticated. No matter which one you own, you’ll be able to use it to take great underwater pictures. Some models are waterproof from 15 to 30 feet down. If yours is not, you’ll need to buy an underwater housing. Camera housings are basically watertight containers, usually made of acrylic plastic, that shield your camera from the water. Most of the camera’s features will function through a variety of controls on the housing itself. The price of housings varies widely, with the more expensive cameras generally requiring costlier housings. IKELITE of Indianapolis manufactures a wide variety of underwater housings for the most common digital cameras.

Since this is not an article on how to master your digital camera, I won’t spend any time describing which ISO, shutter speed or aperture to use. There are no special settings to use underwater in any event. If you become intimately familiar with your camera and learn its capabilities, you’ll be fine. If you can consistently get good pictures with your camera on land, you’ll be able to do the same when you take it under the surface.


What you’ll need to get started are a mask, snorkel, and fins. If you don’t yet have snorkeling gear, you won’t need to spend a great deal. You can find adequate snorkeling equipment in most discount stores for just a few dollars. You’ll find better gear at dive shops. The important thing is to select comfortable fins that are the right size for your feet and a mask that comfortably fits your face. Nothing will impair your enjoyment of shooting underwater more than a leaky mask that forces you to surface repeatedly to remove water from inside. If your gear fits well, you’ll be free to concentrate on taking pictures of the wonderful things you see underwater. If you’ve never used snorkeling equipment, you might spend a little time at the local pool to become familiar with it before you head to the lake with your camera. Just remember that you need to be thoroughly comfortable with both your snorkeling gear and your camera. You don’t want to find yourself fumbling with either while you’re underwater.


The underwater life you’re most likely to encounter in freshwater lakes and streams depends primarily on where you live and which species of life dwell in your area. Two of the most widespread fish that you’re likely to see first are sunfish and bass. Both species tend to be social, gregarious, and curious. You might also see turtles or crayfish, both of which make good subjects. Other fish you’re likely to encounter are schools of minnows. They can seem at first to be colorful and interesting, but don’t spend too much time with them. They’re too small and they usually move too fast. Trying to take good pictures of them can be an exercise in frustration. While it’s possible occasionally to encounter mammals, reptiles, amphibians or aquatic birds, most of what you will see while you’re snorkeling and photographing will be warm water freshwater fish. It may at first seem impossible to get truly good pictures of fish, but your chances will improve dramatically when you follow a few secret tips.


There are really only five tips beginners need to keep in mind to get consistently good underwater images. Follow these secret tips, and your friends and family will be amazed at the pictures you’ll be able to show them.


The single biggest factor that will affect the quality of your images is light. Professional underwater photographers use powerful strobes that enable them to shoot in the depths on cloudy days or even at night, but external strobes can be expensive and difficult to master. As a beginner, you’re better served forgetting about strobe lights altogether and instead utilizing the best source of light there is: the sun. Shoot on bright, sunny, cloudless days between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. This is when the most sunlight penetrates the water. Keep the sun at your back at all times and your subjects will be brightly illuminated and your pictures will be colorful and vibrant. If your camera has a built-in flash, turn it off for best results. After you’ve gained more practice, you can experiment with adding strobe or fill flash. Trying to balance strobe light and sunlight underwater on your first few outings will only lead to disappointment and frustration. Since you’re snorkeling and working in water that’s relatively shallow, there will be plenty of natural light on sunny days to allow good exposures without a flash.


Shoot in the clearest water you can find. Water is 800 times thicker than air, and even the clearest water contains particles that will diminish the quality of your images. If you compound this problem with natural stains, algae, suspended debris, or runoff that’s often found in our waterways, it’s like trying to take terrestrial pictures on a snowy, rainy, or foggy day. Clarity is of critical importance. Having the best camera and the best light won’t make any difference if the water itself isn’t clear enough for your pictures.
Simply put, without excellent clarity great underwater pictures are impossible to shoot. Unless you live in a very large city, chances are that you’ll find at least a few small lakes or streams within driving distance where the water is still crystal clear. Rivers tend to be turbid, but smaller creeks and streams that feed larger rivers can often be sources of very clear water. To help locate clear water, consult your local Department of Natural Resources. They’re often a good resource for this information. Local dive shops can also tell you about the clarity of nearby lakes. Fishermen and women can be another source of reliable information on clarity in local bodies of water. Water clarity in lakes and streams can vary widely depending on time of year and amount of rainfall or disturbance. Usually, lakes and streams are clearest in the spring and late fall. Avoid them after heavy rains or after excessive recreational boating and other disturbing activities. When viewing water from the shoreline, keep in mind that water will always seem to be clearer than it actually is. In the beginning, you’ll often change your opinion about water that looks clear after you put on a mask and view it from under the surface. After a little practice, you’ll be able to determine if the clarity is suitable just by standing on the bank and looking into the water. If it looks “OK,” it’s probably terrible. If it looks like the clearest water you’ve ever seen, it’s probably merely “good enough.”


Once you’re in the water with your camera and are satisfied with the level of clarity and sunlight, it’s time to look for some fish. In lakes, concentrate on areas near the shore in water two to five feet deep. This so-called “littoral zone,” where land and water merge, is a lake’s most ecologically rich area. Fish seek out these shallow areas most of the year when searching for food, cover, and nesting areas. The littoral zone teems with life. Young fish grow up in these shallow areas because they find protection from predators. Larger fish will move through here because the smaller fish represent a rich source of food. Resist the urge to explore deeper water farther away from the shore. Most of the year, you’ll find that fish and other underwater life relate best to the shallows near shore, especially in the spring when the water first warms. In lakes, look for fish in areas of dense underwater plants or around bulrushes and under lily pads, too. Additionally, any trees that have fallen into the water will usually hold fish, with larger trees attracting more and larger fish. You may also see fish under docks, but because they’re going to be shaded from the sun, and therefore not properly lit, they don’t make good photographic subjects on your initial explorations.

 In streams, look behind large rocks or boulders and in pools outside the main current. Fish often congregate here. Fish use anything that provides shelter or cover, so stay on the lookout for these elements. Only rarely do fish congregate along clear sandy shorelines devoid of plants, rocks, or submerged woody cover.


The number one mistake that novice underwater photographers make is failing to get close enough to their subjects. Since freshwater fish are relatively small, you have to get extremely close to them for striking, frame-filling pictures. On the other hand, this isn’t as difficult as it may seem. Once you see a fish, you need to make a quick assessment of its potential for your photographs. If it’s swimming away, let it go. Swimming after a fish is futile and results only in pictures of tails, not the stunning full-body portraits that you’re really trying to make. You’ll want instead to concentrate on fish that are not in motion. These are the easiest fish to photograph. Once you see a fish nearby, the first thing to do is to freeze and let the fish come to you. If you remain motionless and quiet, many fish are curious enough to swim right up to you for further investigation. Any sudden movements will cause them to swim away quickly. Remain still and allow the fish to become accustomed to your presence. After a few minutes, if the fish doesn’t approach you, and it doesn’t swim off, move in closer. Do this slowly and only a few inches at a time, pausing with each new advance. Always try to approach fish mainly from the front. Let the fish see you. Because this approach is an unnatural tactic for a predator, the fish will more likely regard you as non-threatening if you behave like this in a slow and deliberate manner. As you move in closer and closer, stop to take a few pictures. Continue to move closer while carefully watching the fish. At some point, you will go beyond the fish’s zone of acceptable comfort. This is when the fish will retreat because you’ve gotten too close. But if you move slowly, studying the fish as you approach, you’ll see the early signs from the fish that you’re getting too near. It may begin to get nervous, to turn, or move slowly away. This is where you stop. This is as close as you’re going to get to this particular fish at this time. This is where you take your close-up pictures. If you’re doing it right, you should be only one to three feet away. Your pictures at this distance will be amazing, especially in very clear water on a bright sunny day! It’s important to keep in mind that fish vary from lake to lake and species to species. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t get near enough for that breath- taking close-up every time you shoot. There will be other opportunities. With time and patience, you’ll enhance your skills at this method. With experience, you’ll get within arm’s length of most fish most of the time.

Concentrate on a small area. Resist the urge to explore the entire lake in one day. Once you’re found a location that’s holding fish, stay right there. Focus on an area about the size of your living room. Let the fish in this zone get accustomed to your presence. Be still or move very slowly as you explore the area. Be especially careful not to disturb the bottom. Any dirt or debris stirred up will impair your pictures. If you do cloud the water, wait for it to clear. Too often, we’re in too much hurry. Watch and wait. Take your time. Stay still and just observe. When you do, you’ll unveil the magnificence of our lakes.

 Finally, don’t be timid. Today’s cameras make it incredibly easy to take a great many pictures on one shoot. Professional underwater photographers routinely shoot hundreds of images just to get the half-dozen great shots that deserve publication.

Many of us have had the chance to snorkel while vacationing in warm tropical oceans, but you don’t need to travel half-way around the world to enjoy underwater life. We all have exciting opportunities in our own back yards to view native fish in freshwater lakes and streams. These worlds go largely ignored by people who show them too little appreciation or simple understanding. But if you take the time to go under the surface of your own backyard lakes, you’ll find them fully as vibrant and fascinating as any coral reef in the Caribbean or other exotic location.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Mystery of Catfish in Trees

A flathead catfish balanced on a tree limb. (c)Eric Engbretson

A few years ago while taking pictures in Missouri’s sprawling Table Rock Lake, I noticed quite a few flathead catfish around trees and other sunken timber.  What I found unusual was that many of the catfish were not lying on the lake bottom underneath the trees as you might expect.  Instead they were balanced on top of tree branches often several feet above the bottom.  In short-they seemed to be perched in trees the same way you might see squirrels or birds.  One flathead was lying in a tree at least 10 feet off the lake bottom.  I had been looking for catfish around the base of the trees and under sunken timber, but as began looking higher into the water column and “off the bottom” I noticed more catfish in the trees. 
It wouldn’t be accurate to say they were suspended.  They seemed to be inactive and they were resting very still on the higher branches that had a horizontal slant to them.   (See above photo) The channel catfish I also saw around trees were always near the bottom, but I encountered many flathead catfish perched higher in the trees. 

It was an interesting discovery that puzzled me.  Why would these flathead catfish be so far off the bottom in a tree?   Clearly there must be some advantage or benefit that makes sense to the catfish that I wasn’t aware of.  I did a web search looking for flathead catfish in trees and couldn’t find any mention of this specific action.  For the time being, this peculiar behavior remains a mystery.  You can view more pictures of flathead catfish in trees here.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Creating Great Fish Habitat

A fallen pine tree creates shelter for schools of small bluegill which attract
largemouth bass and other game fish.  (c) Eric Engbretson
When I speak to various organizations or lake associations, one of the questions most often asked is "How can we create good fish habitat?"  One way to do that is actually easier than you might imagine.  One of the best things we can do is... "nothing". 

Every time there's a storm and trees get blown down in our yards, we respond right away by picking up the brush and debris and quickly cutting up the fallen trees and branches with chainsaws to restore our yards to their pre-storm state.  This is fine to do in your yard, but if you have lakefront property, it's one of the worse things you can do near the water.  Trees, large and small that fall onto our beaches or into our lakes due to storms or natural decay are one of the most valuable habitat elements for fish, birds, reptiles and amphibians.  We're tempted to remove the trees to return our shorelines to a state that resembles Waikiki Beach, but when we do, we're robbing the lake and it's inhabitants are critical elements that enhance fish populations.    

Even small trees or branches in shallow water provide critical habitat elements
for a wide variety of fish. (c) Eric Engbretson
I visit many lakes that are ringed with homes and bordered by forest, but in a great many lakes, there’s scarcely any downed trees in the water. Since trees must go down from time to time in storms, falling into the water, I can only assume that lakefront property owners quickly remove them.  This should be avoided because wood and trees that have fallen in the water are a critical habitat element important to a variety of aquatic and terrestrial life. I strongly encourage all lakefront property owners to keep fallen trees in the lake instead of removing them. If they absolutely impede navigation, they should be moved, but not removed.

Trees that fall into lakes are magnets for crappie and
other panfish. (c) Eric Engbretson
I have thousands of underwater pictures that show what great habitat fallen trees provide and how fish utilize them.  Trees of all sizes provide important shade, cover for minnows and juvenile fish, ambush areas for game fish, and protection that's important for successful spawning.  They attract aquatic insects, crayfish and other food sources important to fish.  Studies done in northern Wisconsin show that lakes without coarse woody habitat show declines in fish growth rates and the amount of fish a lake can support. 

So, one of the best ways to actually create terrific fish habitat in our lakes is simply not to destroy or remove the habitat that is naturally made by nature when trees are blown down in storms. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Are The Muskies You See Really That Big?

Muskies underwater are only 3/4 of the size they appear.  (c)Eric Engbretson

One of my favorite websites for fishing information is Lake Link. The fishing reports posted on this site by the thousands of fisherman who fish the many lakes in the Midwest region can be useful, informative and entertaining. While some of the most experienced and knowledgeable fisherman post fishing reports and their observations while on the water, I am constantly amazed at one glaring mistake so many fisherman make. That error is not understanding the magnifying effects of water. Simply put-fish look bigger under water than they really are. The message boards on Lake Link are filled with hundreds of eye-witness accounts of fisherman reporting large muskies that "swam right next to the boat that were 50 inches!" Could there really be that many 50 inch muskies swimming around? The answer is a disappointing "No".  What these fisherman all fail to realize is that fish in water, viewed through air are only 3/4 of the size they appear to be. So, all those mammoth 50 inch fish are really just ordinary 37.5 inch long muskies.

Scuba divers all understand that one attribute of water is that when viewed through a prism of air, also known as a diver's mask, objects appear much larger than they really are. Underwater, a 45 inch musky will look a 60 inch whopper! Fisherman often ask me how large the fish are that I see underwater. Honestly, most fish look big underwater, and big fish look like Godzilla. In my early days of diving I was convinced that each musky I encountered was a world record.  Many scuba dives later, I've come to better understand the illusion, and realize that reports of monster muskie that "got off just as they were about to be netted" were likely ordinary sized fish.

Some may argue that the fish lined up exactly with something on the boat that's of known size and reference, but the viewer doesn't understand the illusion facing scuba divers all the time. Boats and the objects on them are poor comparison tools as they're in the atmosphere, visually accurate in size, while the musky is underwater, distorted in size. To test this concept yourself, measure your hand. Then lean over the side of a fishing boat or dock and stick it about a foot underwater. Hold the ruler above the surface while viewing your submersed hand, and measure it best you can. How'd the numbers come out? If you did this correctly, your dry hand will be roughly ¾ the underwater hand size.

While the fishing reports on websites like Lake Link can be valuable research tools, don't be fooled by eye-witness accounts of large fish that were seen underwater. They just weren't that big. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

3D Fish Pictures Return to Sport Shows

Award Winning 3D Picture "Exploring Smallmouth"

Our Award-winning 3D Fish Pictures return to the Midwest sport show circuit starting this weekend.  If you visit the Milwaukee Musky Expo this weekend, be sure to look for the 3D Picture Store booth.  Jay Garstecki (pictured above) will be on site and happy to show you our current line-up of amazing 3D fish prints.  The 3D effect is truly astounding.  It's "like holding an aquarium in your hands".   Prints for sale at this show include muskie, walleye, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and panfish in sizes small and large.  Prints can be purchased singly or beautifully matted and framed in barn wood. 

These prints won the best of show award at the 2011 ICAST in the giftware category!

Look for the 3D Picture Store and our amazing underwater fish images this weekend at the Milwaukee Musky Expo and February 24-26, 2012 at the Madison Fishing Expo.  

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Rare Lake Whitefish Underwater Images!

Engbretson Underwater Photography now represents the work of Paul Vecsei:

I'm proud to announce that Engbretson Underwater Photography is now representing selected images of photographer Paul Vecsei.  Paul's underwater images of Lake Whitefish and Cisco are without a doubt the finest images of these species ever taken in their natural habitat.  Paul has a fisheries science background which makes him uniquely able to understand the behaviors and habitat requirements of these fish and beautifully capture their magnificence in his stunning photos.  Whitefish and Cisco are two of the most difficult species of freshwater fish to photograph in their natural environment but Paul has done a masterful job.  His images of Arctic Grayling, Lake Trout, Chum Salmon, Cisco, Lake Whitefish and many others are now available for licensing at www.underwaterfishphotos.com
Welcome aboard Paul!