Contact(s): Joanna Griffin, DNR trout coordinator, Joanna.Griffin@Wisconsin.gov, 608-264-8953
MADISON - Ryan Rickaby dreamed of one day following in his father's footsteps and having his artwork grace one of the state's trout stamps. Now the avid angler has achieved that honor twice over in one year and given his father a run for his money.
Artwork by Rickaby, 22, of Suamico, will be featured on the Great Lakes Salmon and Trout Stamp and the Inland Trout Stamp. His father, Jon Rickaby, is a five-time winner of state stamp design contests, having won inland trout once, pheasant twice, and the duck stamp contest twice.
"I was pretty speechless when I received the email, as I was watching the sunset and doing some fishing on one of my favorite Oconto County lakes and just happened to see it in my inbox," the younger Rickaby says. "I couldn't be happier! It is a truly amazing experience and I'm so honored to have been chosen."
Robert Leum from Holmen took second place with his designs in the two contests, and Chanel Babin from Springbrook captured third place in the two contests, according to Joanna Griffin, trout team coordinator for the Department of Natural Resources.
"Thank you to all of the artists for sharing their submissions. We are grateful for the beautiful designs our judges had to choose from and are excited that Ryan is carrying on a family tradition. Fishing is all about the memories, and it's great to have stamps reflecting a family's love of fish, fishing and art."
Fishing is Ryan Rickaby's favorite hobby because "there is always something to learn in the sport and it keeps me going constantly. I love trout, and recently have gotten into it more. It's so peaceful and the scenery is next to none in our Northern Wisconsin streams. Plus, trout are unbelievably gorgeous and putting them into art is the perfect match."
He got his inspiration for his designs after a good friend and fishing mentor took him on a trout fishing adventure to his favorite spot. Rickaby caught countless beautiful brook trout that day. The friend left his rods at home and decided to film the day of fishing including underwater scenes of the fish Rickaby was catching, which really gave him a good look into the trout habitat.
Throughout that day, the friends discussed what they thought would be cool to see on the Great Lakes Salmon and Trout stamp. "I have always loved lake trout and so I crafted that design and painted it hooked up with a spoon pattern that I created, trying to match that deep-water spoon lake trout bite that people love in Wisconsin," Rickaby said.
With his designs in mind, it was time to start painting, and Rickaby was able to draw on the lessons he's learned from his dad over the past 10 years.
"I mainly paint fish, which comes from my love of fishing. I love recreating the experience I felt happened after I caught a trophy fish, or creating an experience I wish to happen someday," he says.
"There are endless opportunities in fishing and art, and I like to try to combine the two."
Rickaby also paints birds, ducks, wildlife, and some human portraits. "I will be expanding my horizons in the future as this is what I plan to do!
In addition to purchasing a state fishing license, anglers who wish to pursue trout and salmon must purchase an inland trout stamp or a Great Lakes salmon and trout stamp depending on the waters they intend to fish. Revenue from the stamp sales is used for restoring and maintaining habitat and in the case of the Great Lakes stamp, for stocking and rearing trout and salmon.
An annual fishing license costs $20 while an inland trout stamp or Great Lakes trout and salmon stamp both run $10. To learn about other licensing options and discounts or to purchase your license, visit GoWild.wi.gov.