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illustration: crappie

May 26, 2016

crappie_by_al_lau

Crappies are a popular North American game fish in the family of sunfish. They can be sought by recreational fishermen and women all year round, even in the winter time because crappies can be active in the cold, unlike bass which become lethargic. The meat of crappie is quite tasty and flaky for a freshwater fish.

The biggest one I caught this spring was 3 pounds at 17-inches in length which is a really good size, though they can be as heavy as 5 pounds. I did release it, so that it could grow that big, someday. I illustrated the species in celebration of my cute crappie.

The summer has begun. Happy Memorial Day all!

salmon_life_F_by_al_lau

After a full life of many challenges, Salmon successfully returns home, back upriver where he was born.

Happy Earth Day!

Have you hugged a salmon today?

salmon_life_C_by_al_lau

Otters are such cute furry mammals but don’t be fooled, they are very agile hunters in the water. Normally, seen floating on their backsides, shucking and eating oysters, otters predominantly eat fish. And Salmon are on top of the menu.

salmon_life_A_by_al_lau

This is the first in a small series I’m working on, which follows the challenging life of a Salmon fish, taken in ‘snapshots’. Stay tuned for more as I add to the cartoon in the coming days.

Happy Easter everybody!

Dungeness Crab Version 2

Along the west coast of America, up to the Pacific Northwest, lives the Dungeness Crab. It is one of the larger family of crabs. Their name is derived from Dungeness, a fish port town in Puget Sound, Washington state. Their lifespan is about 10 years. Commercially caught Dungeness Crabs are usually around 5 years old when their shells reach 6 to 7 inches wide. Crabs grow through a process called molting where it sheds its shell for a new, larger one. Each time this happens, the crab grows 15 to 25%. They can be found in muddy/sandy portions of estuaries with eelgrass, along rocky shores, or as deep as 2000 feet in the ocean where they forage for small fish and invertebrates, such as clams and mussels.

Here is some good news. In a world full of so many threatened species of sea life, Dungeness crabs are actually a very good choice as a sustainable food source.  Regulations is saving the species. For example, in Canada, Dungeness Crab fisheries have catch size limitations. This protects male crabs until they are sexually mature, giving them the chance to spawn before being harvested. Female crabs are also protected by having fishing season restrictions.

What is your favorite prepared way to eat crab?  Mine is Hong Kong-style which is stir-fried in a wok and tossed with soy sauce, green onions, and lots of scrambled egg. Yummy.

I have painted a Dungeness Crab before, however, my approach toward doing watercolor has changed over time, so this is version 2 of the beloved tasty subject.

sketch: salmon shark

January 7, 2016

salmon shark_by_al_lau

It’s a bummer to be a salmon in a world where everybody loves to eat salmon steak and sushi. It’s even worse when salmon have an apex predator stalking them called a Salmon Shark. This is my sketch of a salmon shark on the prowl. He kinda turned out cute. Almost huggable.

illustration: rainbow trout

September 24, 2015

rainbow_trout_and_fly_by_al_lau

Rainbow Trout are a cold water fish that live in the ocean for about three years. They return to river tributaries to spawn. They are identified by their polka dots and pinkish color at the lateral line.

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