Arctic Wolf in the sunset coming back upriver from the Arctic Ocean on the Tree River.

An Arctic Palette

Art, photography and fly fishing seem to live symbiotically. They compliment one another with equal reverence. Is this due to the beautiful moments we as fly anglers expose ourselves to? Or is it because we are more aware of the little things surrounding us? Regardless of the answer, the truth is that fly fishing art is often highly influenced from hours invested in fishy waters. Choking on hatching midges, getting the heebie-jeebies from rambunctious caddis flies or marveling at the sight of a rising trout all capture the wonderment of a fly fishing memory.  
 

For myself, all three seem to go together like bread, peanut butter and honey. When you put them all together, it just makes a beautiful combination. I often lose myself deep into thought, reliving many memories while I’m working on a painting. My photos become my montage of memories… and more importantly they are my references for my art. Even something as mundane as meticulously tipping scales with the finest brush I own seems to pay homage to the memory of spending just a few brief moments with a fish.  

Barren Ground caribou shot during the midnight sunset. Great Bear Lake, NWT.

“Art, photography and fly fishing seem to live symbiotically. They compliment one another with equal reverence.”

Art, photography and fly fishing seem to live symbiotically. They compliment one another with equal reverence. Is this due to the beautiful moments we as fly anglers expose ourselves to? Or is it because we are more aware of the little things surrounding us? Regardless of the answer, the truth is that fly fishing art is often highly influenced from hours invested in fishy waters. Choking on hatching midges, getting the heebie-jeebies from rambunctious caddis flies or marveling at the sight of a rising trout all capture the wonderment of a fly fishing memory. 

For myself, all three seem to go together like bread, peanut butter and honey. When you put them all together, it just makes a beautiful combination. I often lose myself deep intothought, reliving many memories while I’m working on a painting. My photos become my montage of memories… and more importantly they are my references for my art. Even something as mundane as meticulously tipping scales with the finest brush I own seems to pay homage to the memory of spending just a few brief moments with a fish. 

Colored pencil artwork of circling rainbow and brook trout.
Art by Nick Laferriere
Tree River Arctic Char. Tree River, Nunavut.

I have been incredibly lucky to have lay witness to some truly phenomenal moments that have helped shape my style of artwork and how I live my life. Remarkable experiences from both the ordinary and from the truly epic adventures play a big part in my style. I didn’t start focusing my art on fish until I picked up a fly rod.
 

It just never even crossed my mind. I think it was the fact that fly fishing slowed it all down, and I could truly enjoy the beautiful moments. My first renderings were 2D scientific illustration style, and I slowly progressed to add more and more action and perspectives into my work. Now it seems to be the growing trend that I push the boundaries of traditional art.  

2014 Manitoba Fisheries Enhancement Stamp. Art by Nick Laferriere
Commissioned northern pike pencil illustration.
Art by Nick Laferriere

Originally I was a die-hard pencil artist, with graphite-covered fingers as a normal part of my life. It wasn’t until quite recently that I began to paint, after the passing of one of my greatest art mentors, my grandfather. I inherited his painting supplies, and felt it was my responsibility to keep his paints flowing and brushes moving! This has opened up a whole new realm of opportunities and challenges, and has been quite humbling. My brain knows what I want something to look like, but it takes my hands a bit of extra work to figure out the process to get it there. So far though, I’m having a blast and really enjoying working with a vast array of mind-blowing color. I also enjoy incorporating a new style of translucent layering, which is something I never got to try with pencils. 

Nick Laferriere

This was captured in the third week of August in the Northwest Territories above the Arctic Circle.
A young bull muskox, NWT.
Bull Trout release. Columbia River, British Columbia.
Spawning Kokanee Salmon in Marl Creek, a tributary of the Columbia River.
Spawning Kokanee Salmon in Marl Creek, a tributary of the Columbia River.
A small creek grayling from Northwest Territories.
A small creek grayling from Northwest Territories.
Columbia River bull trout.
Columbia River kokanee salmon.
A flesh fly-caught sea run char from the Tree River, Nunavut.
My personal best lake trout caught on Great Bear Lake, NWT.
East meets West. Colored pencil artwork of Atlantic salmon and steelhead. Art by Nick Laferriere
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2017 British Columbia Pacific Salmon Foundation Stamp. Art by Nick Laferriere
A pre-spawn male Tree River Char.
The view of the lodge on Tree River.
Midnight sunset from Guideland on Great Bear Lake, NWT.
The view across the valley from our home in Golden, BC.

Contributed By

Nick Laferriere

A small, Canadian prairie town, surrounded by farmer’s fields, and no water to speak of for miles in any direction; an unlucky location to nurture and produce a fly fishing artist. And yet, this is the birth place of a budding artist whose style has brought new life and new perspective to the industry. These humble beginnings started not with fish scales however, but with feathers. Nick taught himself to draw with little more than a pad of scrap paper, hand-me-down pencils, and stacks of library books from such artists as John James Audubon, Glen Loates and Robert Bateman. His early scribblings were reminiscent of artist’s field studies, with scratched notes about the habitats and life stories of the various birds found around him. Nick has been awarded twice for fisheries stamps in two separate Canadian provinces. His artwork continues to evolve, depicting the story of his life.  His most recent accomplishment was having his artwork “Passing the Torch” chosen by the Pacific Salmon Foundation to represent the 2017 British Columbia Saltwater Fishing License. 

Scientific Anglers Absolute Tippet Catch Magazine

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