Arts & Entertainment

Local Business Spotlight: Trout Tales and Fine Fin Art, fly-fishing and artistry collide

PARK CITY, Utah – Fine Fin Art and Trout Tales Fly Fishing Excursions founder Walter Foster has been sketching and catching fish since he was seven years old.

Fly-fishing and art, the focal points of Foster’s childhood, are now the center of his business. “It ties back to childhood. The two things that I fully enveloped myself in as a kid were fishing and art. At 46, I am taking those two things and making a living out of them,” he said.

Foster didn’t always know that his youthful dreams would translate into a career. When he graduated with a degree in environmental science from Southern Vermont College, he intended to pursue a career in environmental science. However, the occupation didn’t suit him. “I can’t stay in the office for more than two hours at a time. One day, I decided to go out west and be a fishing guide,” he said.

In 2005, Foster and his wife Andrea made Park City home, where his fly-fishing guiding began with Trout Bum 2.

Then in March 2012, Foster started an independent guiding service, Trout Tales. Strong client relationships and his dedication to the sport led to a successful business launch, and by 2013 Trout Tales was Foster’s sole occupation. Over the decade since its launch, Trout Tales has grown into a year-round operator with a robust staff.

Fine Fin Art New Release “Gluttony.” Photo: courtesy Walter Foster.

Fine Fin Art is a natural extension of Trout Tales. When a long-term fly-fishing client simultaneously caught a 20-inch rainbow trout and 20-inch brown trout, Foster placed both fish in a net and captured the image on his iPhone. The client inquired where he could turn the picture into art, and Foster volunteered to give it a try. The commissioned piece for Foster’s longtime fly-fishing client was the birth of Fine Fin Art.

“It is so unique how things come full circle in your life through interactions or certain people. Fine Fin Art spawned out of a client and a fishing experience,” he said.

Foster is responsible for every aspect of each Fine Fin Art creation, “I tie the flies that catch the fish, guide the client into the fish, take the photo with my iPhone, and create the drawing or painting.” In a competitive market, Fine Fin Art, combined with guided fly-fishing, makes Trout Tales stand out.

Signature to all his Fine Fin Art creations is a portrayal of clients’ fish with particular attention to detail, replicating the identity of each fish by painting unique spot patterns, like a human fingerprint.

“Glimmering Brookie” one of the Fine Fin Art Pieces Featured in Yellowstone. Photo: courtesy Walter Foster.

In 2019, his paintings caught the eye of the popular show Yellowstone’s art director. Five of Foster’s Fine Fin Art pieces appear in the third season of Yellowstone, filmed in Weber Canyon. Three Yellowstone images are still available for purchase from his Esty store; Glimmering Brookie, Wyoming Pumpkin, and Elusive.

Folks looking for a one-of-a-kind fly-fishing-inspired holiday gift can purchase artwork from Foster’s Instagram and Etsy store before December 14. Foster recommends winter fly-fishing as a break from skiing and a fresh way to relish winter splendor in a new light. “If you are skiing hard and you need to ice your knees, come out on the river for ice immersion therapy, and to catch a big fish,” he said.

Or combine the two. Spend a day on the river with a Trout Tales guide, then turn the image of a captured beauty into one-of-a-kind artwork that encapsulates the experience.

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