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Don’t Filter Brook Trout

I understand why bad pictures get the black and white treatment to make them more interesting.

(I’m guilty of that.)

I can tolerate people using Snapchat to make their faces slimmer and their eyes brighter.

(I’m not guilty of that.)

I’m opposed to using filters on brook trout.

This isn’t some sort of crusade or cause. It isn’t about making people feel bad. Saying this certainly shouldn’t be cause to search back into the archives of social media accounts to determine who has potentially committed this faux pas. It is a preference, and one that I feel is worth sharing.

After all, what is the point?

What would be your response to the National Park Service installing giant screens of colored, translucent film in front of popular vistas in Yellowstone? Would that intensify the aesthetic? How would you feel if the Louvre converted da Vinci and Caravaggio’s works into 3D experiences? Would that be an improvement? Try dealing with the wrath of a new mother if all the pictures you took of her baby were in over-saturated sepia tones – sound like a good idea?

No, no, no, and no again for good measure.

So why filter a brook trout?

They’ve  got oranges and blues and yellows and different shades of green and white. They’ve got stripes, spots, streaks, and squiggles. They’ve got the ability to blend in or stand out; for contrast and correspondence wrapped up in one design.

What does it say about us, as people, that we have to try to improve all that?

Sure, we can tell human children that real beauty is on the inside all day long. But we’re talking about fish here. And in a primarily catch and release culture, beauty is most definitely on the outside. I’ve done my fair share of hatchery trout shaming, what with their muted colors and chewed up fins. Go ahead and catch, eat, and enjoy them – just don’t say they’re pretty.

Brook trout are pretty with the kind of natural beauty that doesn’t necessitate postmodern platitudes. And it certainly doesn’t require digitally applied cover up.

Enjoy them as they are. Leave them be.



  1. Nice call. A pretty brookie doesn’t need a filter. Heck, an ugly one doesn’t either. Although I’ll be the first to admit that my phone’s camera is pre-set to HDR… so I’m probably guilty as charged on cell phone pics.

    • Matthew says:

      Oh, that’s fine. HDR is just what us novices who can’t figure out how to use real cameras lean on to take half decent pictures. It levels the playing field. 🙂

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